Mrs. O keeps up the squawks
July has seen the main nest occupied by SS and Mrs. O, with both birds regularly visiting during the last part of the month. Although they have no offspring, the pair have remained faithful to the nest site and have held the territory. The blue ringed female, FS2, has not been seen for weeks now and so life has settled for SS and he seems to have bonded with Mrs. O. This partnership has been unusual in the behaviour traits that Mrs. O has exhibited with her constant demanding squawks like that of a hungry chick rather than a partner.
A later summer mating for SS and Mrs. O
The pair have been seen mating at the nest site this week too which is really late in the season and it is presumed that hormone levels will be such that a chance of an egg is not likely, so the reason must be to strengthen the bond between the pair to secure a partnership for next season.
They first paired up on 18th May and this was over a month later than usual for white leg SS to find a mate and to attempt to breed, the resulting absence of any egg production was deemed to be because falling hormone levels would have brought a decrease in the ability to produce an egg. They have bonded as a pair and SS has succumbed to her demands to be fed and throughout the summer he has brought in fish and whenever they have met at the nest, he has let her take the fish from him to feed.
The constant calling from Mrs. O has not abated and this must serve a purpose for her to advertise that she is the resident female and that the site is not vacant. It could also be to compel SS to bring fish for her too and this definitely works, she would surely not expend so much energy squawking if it didn’t serve a purpose. We have never before witnessed any osprey making as much noise as this bird and she can be heard from a good way off from the site.
A typical SS and Mrs. O encounter
She lands into the nest and begins to call loudly, this can sometimes last for a considerably long time until eventually white leg SS joins her, sometimes with a fish and sometimes without. If he does have a fish, she snatches it from his talons and takes it up to the perch where she begins to feed but she also continues to squawk between beakfuls of food.
A nest tidy and a beak clean is usually practiced by SS once she begins to feed but he doesn’t stay for the duration of her feeding and flies off leaving her to feed and squawk all the while. With only a matter of weeks to go before they will migrate, hopefully they have suitably made enough impression on each other to return early next season and be successful to raise a family. If this happens it will be interesting to see if Mrs. O adopts different behaviour once there are chicks.
Nest 2 young explore close to their nest
The nest 2 young birds are gaining confidence to fly further from the nest site. So far it is the larger female that has been the most adventurous with a total distance of 2.11 km flown from the nest across the top of the hill to the next hill before returning to the nest. Each trip begins and ends at the nest and this typically coincides with fish brought back by a parent bird. The male chick has ventured 600m as the furthest distance from the nest site so far and his journeys conclude with a trip back to the nest presumably to feed also.
So far no attempts have been made to follow parents on a trip to any water courses or ponds, so they are definitely not ready to hunt yet, although once at the nest, they do not rely on a parent to feed them any longer as they can confidently handle whole fish to feed themselves. The parents deliver the fish and allow the young birds to handle the prey for themselves.
Attempt to contact Sanso community
PX1, the one year old male from the same parents and nest site as PY1 and PY2 (affectionately nicknamed Pinky and Perky), is still at the gold mines in Sanso, southern Mali. The mines are operational open cast pits and we are trying to make contact with anyone from the local community there who may be interested to correspond about PX1, and if they could give some information about what it is like in the locality where he has taken up residence. It would be really nice to hear how he is getting on from someone that lives there and who has seen him.