The unhappy couple

The unhappy couple. Mrs O watches SS

Mrs. O watches SS

Main nest life for the unhappy coupling of SS and Mrs. O doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Mrs. O the ‘orrible osprey female is a demanding, bullying fish grabber and the hapless male, SS, looks a little down in the beak to say the least.

He was seen to arrive onto the nest without a fish and immediately Mrs. O began following him around and pecking at his toes. There was no fish to be had but still she had a nasty little peck away at him, all the while keeping up her shrill squawking demands.

Defensive SS

Occasionally, he tries to stand up for himself and he turns his back on her and drops his wings, adopting the usual posture that she presents towards him. He mantles his wings and tiptoes about the nest flicking his wings in a drop down pose; she just turns away and usually continues to belt out her shrill calls.

SS turns his back to Mrs O

The unhappy couple, SS turns his back to Mrs.O

Futile coupling

A further mating attempt was recorded on 1st June and then some nest tidying on 4th June but there is still no sign of any egg being laid in the nest. It is strange behaviour that we have witnessed this year between the pair and there doesn’t seem to be any affection or close bond developing at all.

Very sleepy SS

During torrential rain on 5th June both birds were at the nest with Mrs. O doing what she always does, squawking loudly, while SS was up on the left hand perch and appeared to be very tired. He actually tucked his head under his wing and fell asleep. Perhaps trying to muffle the demanding calls from Mrs. O. We have never seen him sleep at the nest before in all the years that he has held this territory. He is an 18 year old bird and so quite old in bird terms. He has been trying to keep two females happy and has been left with Mrs. O as the resident female at his territory.

sleepy SS

Sleepy SS

The other female, FS2, visits and then leaves which caused some speculation that he may have a nest with her as well elsewhere, or has she got a nest with another male? Will she be raising SS’ chicks this year but not at the main nest site because Mrs. O has taken over it?

Mrs. O has a plan

Mrs. O is no bird brain when it comes to conserving energy – she does not bother to go fishing because she has realised that sitting it out on the nest and making enough demands, results in a fish being brought to her. A ‘Jabba the Hutt’ in osprey guise, antagonistic in nature and with an insatiable appetite! We are not feeling the love for Mrs. O.

Where did last year’s female go?

Last year SS was with female AS6 from Muir of Ord and there have been no reports of her anywhere this year, so we wonder what happened to her. It is a pity that she never returned as she would be four years old now and more mature for raising a family of her own. They lost their young last year and her inexperience showed as she didn’t seem to know how to care for the chick at first and had to be shown by SS. He gently fed the young chick until she understood what she had to do but sadly, the chick didn’t survive.

Bad luck four years running

SS has had four years of bad luck at this nest site following on from 10 happy and productive years with his original partner who died. Here’s hoping he never smashed any mirrors to make it an unlucky seven years! Surely, things can only get better for him.

In theory, not having any chicks to rear should be a year’s holiday from all that fishing and parenting to youngsters but the demanding Mrs. O is ruining what potentially could have been a carefree summer for our boy SS.

Where is Mrs. O from?

We have no idea where she came from and why did she pitch up at the main nest site so late in the season? Was she usurped from a nest elsewhere which failed? If she was, then maybe she lost a clutch of eggs and that is why she is unable to lay again now. Again, it is just speculation for whatever we know about the ospreys there always seems more questions that could be answered.

If she stays around for the rest of this season perhaps we could commission the invention of little osprey ear defenders for poor SS before she drives him nuts.

Fledged nestlings

At the osprey centre at Kailzie Gardens, the great tits and the blue tits from the camera boxes have now fledged. The herons too have now left their nest but only the gruesome twosome survived to adulthood. The smallest and least fed never thrived and was driven from the nest by the robust and feistier siblings.

Camera trap success

The camera trap along the burn has been capturing some lovely footage of a lactating vixen, an otter cub feeding on a nice trout head treat and a beautiful roe deer buck. The film clips of all the animals caught on camera can be viewed at the centre.

Catch up with all the latest nest videos here:

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