I was so looking forward to returning to Site B this year, but when I awoke early this morning I was a little troubled. I had attended a meeting the previous evening and arrived home just before midnight. I switched my mobile back on and discovered that a friend had telephoned asking me to give her a ring that evening. I decided that 11.55pm was far too late and it would have to wait until the next day. So as I walked alone towards the Site B hide, impatient to catch my first glimpse of 03(97) and his female this season, the reason for her call was niggling at the back of my mind.
As I approached the hide 03(97) and his female were both on the nest and looking quite alert. Chris, from whom I was taking over, explained that 03(97) was missing when she arrived at 6am and had then returned with a fish. The pair were not to share a peaceful breakfast however. 09(98) has returned this year and as Tim has explained already, he is not happy and is venting his anger and frustration on the female at this site. At the moment she is simply leaving the nest while he swoops at her and is eventually driven away either by the female or 03(97). Of course, this female is not completely guiltless, having food begged at 09’s nest and accepted fish from him for the past two years that she has been resident at Site B. If this behaviour continues from 09(98) it will certainly be a very worrying time once she has laid eggs.
As Chris and I were talking over the situation, the mobile rang – it was Tim checking on events. During the conversation Chris held the phone near to my ear in order for me to hear the conversation too. I could hardly believe what I was hearing and asked to speak to him. I told him of my missed call the previous evening and how what he had just been told us must be the same subject as my friend’s call. Such exciting news! And so when Janine from the Dyfi Osprey Project called me just after 8am I was one step ahead of her.
In Wales they had anxiously awaited the return of their male and sure enough, Monty had turned up on 6 April. The next step was whether he could attract a female and persuade her to stay. Well, said female turned up on April 9 and it was everything crossed. I remember a conversation with Janine earlier this week, saying that the next few days would be crucial in discovering whether this female would stay permanently or would travel on up North, probably to Scotland. Today, Wednesday, 13 April, she is still around and has been identified with a White Darvic ring on her right leg which reads 03(08)! A juvenile from Site B which I had the privilege of seeing ringed. How wonderful to have turned up at Machynlleth. I spent a lot of the morning, at the actual site where she was conceived, thinking how amazing it was that I had been so close to her, watched her fledge and start her migration and that for three years she had kept herself safe. Chris had told me about one of her shifts from 2008 when there were just two juveniles left (their sibling, 01(08) disappeared shortly after fledging) – 03(97) had a brought a fish to the pair on the nest and 03(08) had snaffled it, refusing to give 05(08) any. He must have been very hungry as he flew over to 03(97) and hovered overhead food begging vociferously. She was feisty and strong-willed then and has now survived her first migration back to the UK.
Before I left for Africa in January, Janine had jokingly asked me to direct a migrating female up to Wales for Monty – the stuff of dreams, but sometimes dreams really do come true; I couldn’t have wished for 03(08) to go anywhere better (excluding Rutland of course). Pob lwc to the Dyfi Osprey Project – Good Luck.
Oh, by the way, I had a lovely morning at Site B watching the pair flit from tree to nest, mate, tidy the nest, but ever vigilant. It was a fairly quiet morning and on such occasions you get the opportunity to have a good look at the birds. This female has beautiful markings across her dark chest band – like dark chocolate chevrons running through whipped cream. A buzzard passed very close to the nest but 03(97) was unfazed and a red kite hovered for a while over the nest and drifted away. Three fallow deer skipped by at quite close range, pausing fleetingly to look my way. It was very, very cold but it didn’t seem to matter, the excitement and happiness of 03(08)’s return seemed to create such a duvet-like warmth around me – but this was no dream.