A slow start
The osprey season has been slow to get started this year. Low pressure weather over much of Europe in the period before Easter was considered to be hampering progress of the migrating birds. The sudden improvement in weather and a brief period of high pressure weather systems brought about the correct conditions for the birds to move north.
SS and unringed female move in
During this brief spell of good weather our very special osprey male returned with a new partner at his side.
It was such a lovely surprise to see the return of ‘white leg SS’ to the main nest on 9th April accompanied by an unringed female osprey. We really had been quite uncertain whether he would continue to hold the main nest territory or be usurped by other birds. There has been a shadowy presence at the site – another osprey passing overhead and causing some upset, since the pair took up residence.
All seems to bode well so far though, as SS brought a fish and presented it to his new partner which she accepted and began to eat. She was pecking at the fish and appeared to find the presence of another osprey in the vicinity quite alarming, whereas SS appeared to be unconcerned. The pair bonding over a gifted fish is a good sign that they will remain together. Mating between the pair has taken place frequently at the nest and we are convinced that there will be eggs laid very soon. He has been seen to be scraping a scoop shape into the bottom of the nest in readiness.
Apart from mating, the pair seem to spend time apart at either side of the nest on separate perches. Perhaps there will be a closer partnership observed once eggs are laid and incubation starts. This will be the time when they will need to cooperate more, to take turns to incubate the clutch and he will give her breaks to go and stretch her wings while he keeps the precious eggs warm and protected.
The unringed female
After losing his mate last season, an unringed female moved in to the main nest and seemed to follow SS around even though he was seemingly distressed by her presence. He was often seen turning his back to her and mantling his wings as she followed him around the nest. It earned her the nickname ‘stalker’ amongst the volunteers. However, we wonder if this is perhaps the same female and she has successfully won her male prize. He is the rightful territory holder of the main nest site and he needs a partner, as the urge to breed is instinctive. Whether she is another female or the same one, we cannot tell but they are certainly an item now!
FK8 moving on
The satellite tagged female bird (FK8) that fledged from the ‘back up nest’ number 2 has spent the whole winter down in the Algarve region of Portugal.
In March she took a long journey east into Spain and spent some time just north of the Strait of Gibraltar. She has since headed back across to the area of Spain called the Donana National Park.
It is often noted that during springtime, birds exhibit a ‘migration restlessness’, even though they are not ready to migrate themselves. So perhaps her jaunt across country was just such migratory excitement and so we will keep watching to see where she heads to next or if she settles for the summer period in Spain.
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