Well, Maya surprised us all by laying a fourth egg today! In each of her previous six years of breeding, she has only ever laid three eggs. We were all just thinking how nice it was that the Manton Bay pair had their full clutch and were happily incubating, then out pops egg number four!
I first noticed that there were four eggs when I saw Maya stand up at 12:24 to shout at a greylag goose that flew too close to the nest.
I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had to watch it back on the main camera a few times over. I then rewound through the recordings, attempting to locate the moment it was laid. At 11:36, 33 was happily incubating. Then Maya flew in and seemed keen to incubate, standing very close to 33, almost, but not quite, pushing him. He stood up, clearly revealing three eggs, and the pair swapped over.
In the four minutes before Maya rose again, she looked a bit uncomfortable and was clearly laying another egg, as when she stood up at 11:40 there were four!
Here’s a nice close up of Maya with her clutch of four.
Here’s 33 settling in to incubate four eggs for the very first time. He took it all in his stride, as expected!
As this is the first time Maya has laid four eggs, we are very excited to see what will happen. It has been known for ospreys to raise four chicks, as happened at Kielder last year, and we are sure that Maya and 33 will be perfectly capable of raising a brood of four. They are experienced parents and we have all seen just how attentive they are, and how good 33 is at providing fish for his family. This could be a very exciting season!