Well, what a morning we had, and all before half past ten! Those of us in the Centre were lucky enough to get truly amazing close-up views of a stoat right in front of the Centre windows! For the squeamish amongst you, or those who love rabbits, you may not have enjoyed it much, as the stoat was bounding back and forth to a rabbit warren, where she proceeded to carry the babies/kits one-by-one to her den, where she presumably has young. Volunteer Jan Warren took some videos of the stoat, which we hope to be able to share tomorrow!
On the Manton Bay nest, 33(11) and Maya are beginning to show signs of bonding. 33 had another go at mating today, and it was a successful attempt! From what we have seen, this would appear to be the first time he and Maya have mated successfully.
This means, of course, that the egg that appeared today in the nest cup is not a new one. It must be one of the first three that has rolled back in. Interestingly, it was 33 who was incubating this egg! We saw him sitting there in the nest cup, and we thought he was incubating nothing, as if he was saying, “Look, if you lay an egg I’ll know what to do with it.” Then he got up and we saw that he had actually been sitting on an egg!
After the initial shock, we realised it must be an old egg that had rolled back in. It seemed strange that 33 was incubating it, after he had scraped all of the eggs out. My esteemed colleagues and I decreed that his instinct to incubate must have kicked in (even though the egg is not his), given that time-wise an egg is a possibility. This suggests that Ospreys do not really know whether an egg is theirs or not, and follow their instincts based on timing.
It would also suggest that it was instinct, and not malicious intent, that drove 33 to kick the eggs out in the first place. When he kicked out the eggs, he probably didn’t think, “They’re not mine, they’ll have to go.” It’s far more likely he was simply doing what a male Osprey should at that point in the breeding season – nest scraping. The fact that the eggs got kicked out in the process was collateral damage – as far as he was concerned he was doing his duty and the eggs just happened to be there. Of course, we can’t really know what an Osprey thinks, so perhaps we are wrong!
In other news, 28(10) was back again today! He perched on the nest platform in Heron Bay for about an hour this morning, then was seen flying north, pursued by 33. Also, more large sticks have been brought to the ever-growing nest today!
33(11) delivered a half-eaten fish to Maya at about 07:00 this morning. Later today, at about 16:00, he caught a great big roach in the Bay, in front of a hide full of delighted visitors, which he took straight to the nest.
The fish turned out to be already dead, and later 33 was seen trying to catch another one, much bigger, and was unable to lift it out of the water!
Here are some photos from today. We will have much better photographs tomorrow from John Wright!