Maya has been without food since Thursday morning. She has spent her time either sitting on the eggs or chasing off 33(11), waiting for 28 to do his duty and bring her a fish. Today, she finally decided she wasn’t going to wait any longer, and she went and caught one for herself. This of course meant that she was off the eggs for a long time. She hasn’t given up on them, and is still incubating. However, it has been cold and wet today, and they have been exposed for far too long.
Surprisingly, 28 made an appearance on the nest today at about 10:30. He did not bring a fish, and he looked nervous. He made a move to incubate the eggs, and then 33 appeared above, and all hell broke loose. Both Maya and 28 were mantling like mad on the nest, then 28 flew up and faced 33 talon to talon, causing 33 to drop the piece of fish he was carrying onto the nest, much to our surprise!
A fight ensued, the result of which is yet to be known, as neither 28 nor 33 have returned to the Bay.
What will happen now? It seems that 28 is just not strong enough to fight off 33’s advances. 33 even landed on the nest a couple of times today. Although Maya has been incubating when she is on the nest, she has been off it a lot more, and, sadly, the eggs have probably already failed. The best we can hope for, as Tim said yesterday, is for Maya and 33 to form a pair-bond and return to breed together next year.
The situation at the Manton Bay nest is very unfortunate and, quite frankly, heartbreaking for the staff and volunteers at the Osprey Project. However, it is important to remember that, for the Project as a whole, the collective highs definitely outweigh the lows, and the population of Ospreys at Rutland Water is thriving.