With 00(09) settling in to life with 5R(04) in Manton Bay, we have been wondering how 5R’s mate will react when she returns to find an impostor at her nest. What we weren’t expecting was that she may return to find TWO there. This evening we witnessed a remarkable passage of behaviour at the nest.
At around 6pm volunteer Mick Lewin, who was monitoring the nest from Waderscrape hide, rang to say that a second female had appeared in the bay. We had just left the Lyndon Visitor Centre for the day, but rushed back to try and identify the new arrival. We switched on the TV and immediately saw that it was 5N(04); 09’s mate from Site N (and 5R’s sister). We know from his satellite transmitter that 09 is still in France and so, presumably, having returned to find an empty nest, 5N went off in search of a male. First stop was Manton Bay, where she bred in 2007 and 2008 before moving to Site N.
Unperturbed by the presence of 00(09), who was eating a fish given to her by 5R, she headed straight to the nest, landed and began food-begging! 5R appeared unsure of what to do – who can blame him – but after joining 5N briefly on the nest, he responded to her food-begging and began circling over Heron Bay where he often catches fish.
It was rather half-hearted attempt though because after five minutes he gave up and returned to Manton Bay, alighting next to 00 on the T perch close to the nest. By now 00 had finished her fish, and a few minutes later she flew to the nest: landing on the ‘French’ perch above it, and then diving at 5N who was still food-begging below. 5N held her ground and so for a minute or so the two females were perched together; neither knowing quite what to do. We managed to capture the action on video.
As the video shows, after the stand-off 5N left the nest and went fishing for herself. It was now getting dark, but she was obviously very hungry – who knows how far she had flown today? Her arrival late in the day means she could well have migrated several hundred miles.
The satellite-tracking data suggests that 09 won’t be back until tomorrow evening at the very earliest and so it will be very interesting to see what happens in the morning. Will 5N go back to Site N, or will she cause more trouble in Manton Bay? If she does and 5R’s mate returns too, things could get very interesting to say the least. We will, of course report all the action as it happens. You can also watch live on the webcam, or even better, come and see the drama unfolding for real at Lyndon. This kind of behaviour is probably common at Osprey nests in the long-established colonies in North-eastern Scotland, but it is great to see it happening in the heart of England. Long may it continue!