Whilst the warden and her team of merry workers wait for the first sign of returning osprey there is much work to do in preparation for the onset of the season; dusting off the scopes, buying the teabags, airing the hide, sweeping the forest... well not quite that far.
As ever 2006 proved to be a soap opera of events, here’s a little reminder of what happened.
The season, worryingly, followed the same pattern as 2005; our regular female, EJ, arrived at the nest quickly followed by her old flame Orange VS. Henry returned 15 days later, crucially, before she had laid any eggs so, unlike 2005, there was no egg kicking contest! Orange VS once again proved to be the weaker male and was soon seen off by Henry who quickly settled back into his role as fish bringer.
EJ and Henry have now paired up for four seasons so we were hopeful for eggs. On the 14 April, our first egg was glimpsed and eight days later we had a clutch of three little Easter eggs. However the timing was so close between Orange VS’ presence and Henry’s arrival that we’re still not certain of the paternity rights. No matter as Henry played the proud father and who am I to suggest anything different.
So... 2007. As ever at this time of year the anticipation is palpable. Late February saw a few sightings in Cornwall and Wales of eagerly returning Osprey and with the spring-like weather we have been having, up until the blizzards came in a few days ago, we have been eagerly expecting them.
Will EJ and Henry return for a fifth season? Will Henry’s lackadaisical approach to the migration up to Loch Garten mean EJ has already taken up with another male? Will that other bird be our usual suspect Orange VS? Will we see Red 8T try his chances once again? Maybe more importantly, will there be a sighting of our 2004 chicks, returning to their fledging ground for the first time?
So many questions... so few answers. The only thing we can be certain of is that the upcoming days and weeks are going to be full of expectation and we will endeavour to keep you updated with news as and when it happens. In the meantime it is crucial that the site remains quiet so that when the birds do return they have a chance to settle before the eyes of the public are allowed to follow their every move.
The Osprey Centre will open to visitors for the first time this season on Sunday 1 April and as always, we look forward to welcoming you. In the meantime, if you are intending to visit us, and we hope that you are, please be patient.
With osprey arrival imminent, it is important that the site remains as quiet and undisturbed as possible at the crucial arrival and settling-in period, in the run to the Osprey Centre opening on 1 April. Your help and co-operation with this would be very much appreciated, thank you.