If you’ve been watching the webcam you’ll probably have noticed that only two eggs have been visible again today. The birds have made no effort to uncover the third which is now completely buried in the nest cup. This isn’t something we’ve recorded on camera before at Rutland Water, but we can only assume that, sadly, the birds know the egg isn’t viable – it is hard to believe that they have accidently buried it, particularly when you consider how careful they are to turn each indivdual egg at regular intervals.
Although we haven’t seen it on camera before, it is not uncommon to find ‘dud’ Osprey eggs among a clutch of three and that is almost certainly the case with this one. From the colouration of the clutch we think it was the first egg to be laid – it was much paler than the other two – and given that Osprey eggs hatch in the order they were laid, first hatching may now be delayed by a day or so. At this stage it is very difficult to know what has gone wrong, but given some of 00(09)’s aggressive intrusions, there is a chance that 5R or his mate inadvertently damaged the egg when they were defending the nest. This video shows the kind of incident that may have lead to things going wrong. Perhaps we’ll be able to find out more when we visit the nest later in the season to ring the remaining chicks?
The situation has parallels with what is happening at Bassenthwaite Lake in the Lake District, where the breeding pair have actually removed one of their clutch from the nest completely. Although the nest cameras add hugely to our knowledge of breeding Ospreys and give us a unique insight into their life, they bring us the bad news as well as the good. Let’s just hope that the two remaining eggs at Manton Bay and in the Lake District both hatch.