Staff and volunteers at the Lake District Osprey Project are “over the moon” with the news that the first egg of the season has been produced by the pair of birds nesting by Bassenthwaite Lake.
The protected birds have had a bit of an “on-off” relationship since they arrived at their summer home overlooking the lake. However, staff and volunteers at the project noticed earlier this week that she was “sitting solidly in the nest cup”.
LDOP information officer Barbara Thomson said: “The female’s behaviour was observed to have changed radically at 16.00 hours on Monday 20th by local sharp-eyed staff and volunteers on their exercise walk.
“From the footloose and fancy free ‘honeymoon’ period where she (the female) had been seen flying about the valley, mating with the male bird and collecting nest material, she is now sitting solidly in the nest cup.”
The two birds arrived at the end of March, and it was that their first would be seen over the Easter weekend. Generally, if all is going well with the courtship eggs are expected 13 or 14 days after the birds’ arrival.
Barbara said: “However, this year, the romance seemed to be a bit off and on the boil. A couple of times the male bird was observed to be mantling fish – holding it under his wings – and not handing it over to the female.
“As fish is the equivalent of giving chocolates for ospreys, both for bonding and protein, it is perhaps not surprising she was a little tardy in producing. The male bird seems to have got into the swing of things now though and is bringing fish to her on the nest.”
Ospreys usually lay between 2 and 3 eggs at 48-hour intervals so it is hoped that by the weekend the female will be sitting on a full clutch with the long haul of incubation lying ahead.
Barbara stressed: “At this period it is critical that these Schedule 1 Protected birds are not disturbed, and the clutch not jeopardised. We would ask that everybody enjoys the ospreys, through media, news and updates from the comfort of their own homes, observing the government guidelines for exercise and social distancing.”
Although the Dodd Wood viewpoints and the Whinlatter Visitor Centre and all car parks are closed due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the ospreys can still be viewed at www.ospreywatch.co.uk and on social media on Facebook – Lake District Osprey Project and Twitter – @lakelandosprey