People all over the world are following the exploits of our Loch Arkaig osprey pair, thanks to a live web stream supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The great news is that the birds are now incubating three eggs!
The birds began mating within a day of pairing up on the nest. Early couplings stimulate the growth of eggs in the female, but don’t actually lead to fertilisation. An egg will be quite big and have a yolk before it is fertilised. It is the final few days before laying that are critical. Once fertilised the egg gets its outer membranes and the hard calcareous shell forms. Tiny glands apply streaks and mottles in the final few hours before laying.
Here is a clip of Aila laying egg number one.
Improved parenting skills
It really was quite remarkable that this pair of novices managed to raise their chick Lachlan last year as they left his egg unattended for several hours at a time. They have been much more attentive this year. Here are the parents switching egg-sitting duties.
The eggs were laid from Monday last week through to Sunday with two day intervals – exactly to timetable.
Here is a clip of Louis bringing in a fish, with a good view of the three eggs.
Three is the normal osprey clutch size. Very occasionally there may be four but we don’t expect any more.
Waiting for chicks
Hopefully we will see chicks in around a month’s time. The task in hand now is for the pair to defend those eggs, keep them warm and for Louis to bring plenty of fish while Aila does most of the egg-sitting.