We’re about two weeks from the possible start of hatching and fortunately all is quiet on the nest. The eggs look good (when we can spot them in the sticks and grass) and the parents are on the ball so far with incubating. We haven’t seen any intruder ospreys or other disturbances at the nest, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that things will continue to progress normally.
If you visit the Wildlife Drive at Blackwater Refuge you’ll see four water nests around the road (all man-made platforms), and right now we have osprey couples in all of them, so it’s shaping up to be a good season. In addition, we have a new natural nest near our photography blind. Last year, at the end of the nesting season, we saw this nest being built. It was so late in the season that we assumed it was a “frustration nest,” which is a nest built by a couple that failed to produce chicks. Over the winter the nest blew down (it’s very exposed), but this year it returned even bigger and now we can see an adult incubating inside. We hope this couple has a successful season, since we’re excited to see a natural nest along the Drive.
In other osprey news, we heard about the soap opera going on at Loch Garten in Scotland. The normally reliable Odin went missing and left EJ on the nest with her eggs. A new male took advantage of Odin’s absence and began to woo EJ. When EJ took a break from her eggs to eat, the new male destroyed Odin’s eggs (something a challenging male will do). But then Odin returned, and now it’s not clear who will be the resident male.
Although we get some drama occasionally with our eagles, ospreys do seem to be especially skilled in surprising us with their antics.