....the Loch Garten Osprey Centre opened to visitors today at 10am for the 2012 season - and thanks for your patience in awaiting the opening day, and WOW what a start! We think Odin is back!!!!!!
We're not sure yet, we need to await his return later this monring, hopefully with a fish for EJ, to get another look at him, but this is what happened. EJ returned to her nest from her nightime roost at 04.40am and all was well. At 06.09am, her new (latest!) male, Blue XD arrives at the nest too and promptly mates with EJ and she seemed happy to oblige. Then half an hour later Blue XD heads off to fetch her, her fish breakfast, returning at 0738 with a 10 inch brown trout, and she again is happy to accept his offering. At 08.20am Blue XD brings a 2 foot stick and 3 clumps of moss. Again, EJ seems happy with his attention and nest-building efforts...... for now.
Then at 08.47am she attacks him, making a particulalrly viscious swipe at the confused, hapless chap, turns her back on him and mantles her wings before driving him off the nest. At 09.06am EJ briefly allowed Blue XD to be beside her at the nest, and yet another male could be heard displaying high overhead. At first EJ alarm-called and began to mantle her nest, then flew to the adjacent dead tree, then at 09.10am an un-ringed male lands on the nest. Both boys fly off, sparking an aerial chase & battle. Meanwhile EJ remains on her nest awaiting the outcome of all this attention.
Is it Odin? We'll likely know later today, but being un-ringed is a start. Was it EJ seeing Odin, hearing him display and, if ospreys have voice recognition and are able to distinguish one male from another, knew her mate of three previous years was indeed back for a forth, and this led her to put on a sheepish display of annoyance and disatisfaction with Blue XD , acting as if nothing was going on between them, honest!
If it is Odin that has returned and he has ousted Blue XD - more easily dislodged than I predicted - then it is just in the nick of time. Yesterday, Roy Dennis, my colleagues Ian, Jen and I, rebuilt a basic nest platform at Blue XD's site should this scenario pan-out, and lo, it's looking like it has. It was clear that Blue had piled in sticks to his nest that had all just fallen through the tree to the ground no sooner had he added them. Now at least if he does return there, there's a solid base upon which he can build and hopefully his mate Green J will be back for him soon.
So yes, what perfect timing (assuming it is Odin?), to arrive as we opened for the new season. As soon as the doors were open the first influx of visitors were greeted with all this new drama and excitement giving a real buzz to the Centre, which was great for the new team to be part of on their day one. And there were 23 beautiful whooper swans serenely cruising across Loch Garten. A great start to the season.
From now on, I'll largely hand over to John, Abby, Jen, Laura and Mairi to furnish you with blog up-dates, but I'll chip in from time to time.
If you've been waiitng for us to open to come and visit, thank you, and now's the time. LG Team 2012 look forward to meeting you.
P.S. I think the camera/web-link was down when all this happened. Oooops! There were camera problems early this morning at Caper-watch and to re-boot the camera system I had to trip the fuse and re-set. I think this is what caused the web hook-up to drop. Very sorry.
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