Each year, the ospreys at Loch Garten have people across the world gripped in their tale of violence, adultery and... well... fishing.
This year's diary, written by the Osprey Information Assistants at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre, picks up the saga where we left off.
We update the blog at least twice a week - more often when there's high drama here. We hope you enjoy reading as the nest-side story unfolds...
Read more about Loch Garten
Just a quick blog this morning to point out that 180… is the number of fish that our amazing Odin has brought into the nest since the first chick hatched on 21st May. (We asked one of our residential volunteers to count the recorded fish that have been brought into the nest from 21st May until the second fish this morning.)
180 fish is amazing, but remember that Odin will also have been catching fish to sustain himself on his hunting trips, so the total fish caught will be even higher.
It goes to show how well adapted Osprey are to hunting fish and as I am sure you can tell by our massive Osprey chicks, the high protein diet allows the chicks to develop at an extremely fast rate.
It will be interesting to see if Odin can top his daily record of 9 fish in one day at any point. Keep your eyes open and your calculators handy!
What a beautiful day here at Loch Garten, glorious! It is incredible how a little bit of sunshine can put a smile on your face and a skip in your step :) As I was driving by the loch this morning, the sun was practically bouncing off the water and the effect was one of jaw dropping beauty. Added to this, as I was staring at the loch, our resident female wigeon (nick-named Mrs Wigeon) paddled past with her three chicks trailing in her wake, a lovely sight. I work here! Can you believe that!! It is on days like this that I feel like the luckiest person alive.
Anyway enough about my happy, happy Loch Garten mood, what about our ospreys!?! Well they are doing fantastically well. The chicks are feeding really, really well, and Odin just cannot seem to stop bringing in fish! There were 9 fish brought in on 18 June and he has been averaging around six fish a day, which is superb! The chicks now look like ospreys rather than mini dinosaurs, they are developing so well.
EJ is being her usual self and nagging Odin like nothing on Earth, but she knows how important it is to keep having a steady flow of fish coming in to the nest so don't expect her to ease up on him any time soon! So, everything is going to plan, and the time for ringing is almost upon us. Within the next couple of weeks we will be putting leg rings on all three chicks and satellite trackers on the two eldest chicks, so it really is coming to an exciting time!
In terms of the other wildlife around Loch Garten, it has been fantastic! We have had sightings of crested tits, capercaillie, pine martins (which came so close to the centre that Nicki, one of our colleagues from Edinburgh, claims to have high fived it through the glass doors!) and juvenile woodpeckers. This really is a fantastic place.
On another note, we have all been watching events at Loch of the Lowes over the past few days. It must have been a very difficult time for all those working down there with the Scottish wildlife Trust. We are delighted to see that there has been an improvement with the female and we are all keeping our fingers crossed that the improvement continues, our thoughts are with the team down there.
I came back after my 'weekend' this week to find three bouncing baby ospreys in the nest - but not as I remembered them. On Tuesday evening when locking up the centre I left three ugly chicks. When I returned on Friday morning and turned the monitors on I was shocked to find three large osprey chicks rather than the three unkempt dinosaurs that had been occupying the nest. It's getting really hard to tell them all apart, my answer to the often asked question 'which one's which?' is now 'I think thats 3, that could be 1 and I think that's 2... no wait thats 2 and thats 1...or that could be 2' - it used be be so easy when they were little balls of fluff 'thats 1,2 and 3.' The'yre calling and nagging at EJ, wobbling round the nest in that funny shuffling walk, then after a bit of exploration and stretching they fall over and go to sleep until the next fish.
With increasing size has come an increasing appetite, that 16'' brown trout which used to last a couple of feeds is now gone in 20 minutes tops... and its sent Odin into fishing madness.
Yesterday, 18th June, Odin brought in 9 fish...thats 9 FISH...9! That equals his 2009 record. The first fish to arrive was a 14'' brown trout at 4.33am - let me ask how many of you are out hunting for breakfast at 4.30? A second followed at 0639, another brown trout, a third at 1045. Two hours later he's back with a 14'' rainbow trout. More trout then flew in at a rapid rate 1400 - Brown trout, 1652 - rainbow trout, 1813 - brown trout, 1935 - brown trout and finally at 2235 Odin finished the day with a 15'' brown trout. Neither the chicks nor EJ knew what to do with this influx of fish, i'm sure I could hear them shouting no more fish dad we want some salad!
Odin's fishing spree continues, today he's already brought in 3, the first two within half hour of each other... he's truly living up to his name (for those like me who didn't know Odin is a Norse God). Will we see him breaking his own record this year...?
And a big hello to Colliers Green primary school from my native county - Kent. Its great to know your following the work we're doing up here.
Just finish off...
To answer some of the questions that I can find in the blog -
hadade - I suspect there isn't a 'taste' preference between rainbow and brown trout (but we'll never know unless we learn to speak osprey) and fish will come from the most convienent source. Odin does tend to bring back brown trout more often than rainbow trout so he may just find the spey and the lochs more convienent for fishing in.
Jan smith - there are many RSPB reserves to volunteer at what ever shape/age/fittness/birding ability get in contact with your local reserve and have a chat to them. For residential volunteering (like LG) you can download a pdf with all the information on the RSPB's website. For popular sites you will have to book dates well in advance.
Joing the RSPB - yes please do its the best way of supporting the RSPB's work and helps us to keep nature amazing. Sign up at Loch Garten or at your local reserve, you can join online to.
Update... It's Fish Number 4!