News from the nest is much the same I'm afraid. EJ is still incubating and George continues to show up periodically, usually without a fish. On Wednesday, after one fish in a week and a half, EJ was forced to leave the nest to feed herself. She was off the eggs for a long time (between 7 and 8 hours!) and unfortunately this means things don't look good for the viability of the eggs. A couple of hours here and there might be OK but to be left exposed to the sun for such a long period means the eggs almost certainly won't hatch now. This might be a blessing in disguise as at least the chicks won''t hatch into a world in which they have no chance of survival. Even if her instinct told her to try, EJ alone wouldn't be able to catch enough fish for them while also protecting them from the weather and predators. The eggs are due to hatch by the end of May so we'll find out the situation for sure by then! Annoyingly, just a day later, on Thursday, George triumphantly turned up at the nest with a fish! EJ, possibly because of her meal the previous day or possibly because she was angry at him, declined the offering and George was sent on his way.
Away from the ospreys, Loch Garten continues to enjoy fine weather, meaning sightings have been good and the forest is even more fun to explore than usual. Crested tits are regularly being spotted on the Two Lochs trail, as are crossbills. Red squirrels are frequent visitors to our peanut feeders, although they tend to be more active in the mornings if you're hoping to catch a look. Cuckoos are still calling and I'm amazed by the amount of willow warblers and tree pipits I continue to hear and see along all of the trails. The first goldeneye ducklings have also been spotted on the loch, hopefully to be followed by many more, and common sandpipers can be seen all along the loch shore. The sun makes the whole forest seem to sparkle, especially the bright green of the new blaeberry leaves and the dark waters of Lochs Garten and Mallachie. Come and visit while the sun is shining and marvel at the majesty of the Caledonian pine forest.
Bye for now!
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