Ospreys, those large, fish-eating birds of prey that visit our shores during the summer months, seem to be making all the news at the moment.
There’s an osprey soap opera n full swing in the Highlands, involving a love triangle, murder and infidelity.
Bird experts at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre watched with baited breath as a returning male bird found his former mate sitting on a clutch of eggs sired by a love rival. For some reason – perhaps to spare the birds’ blushes – some of these large predators are know by initials only, so pay attention.
The drama involves Henry, his partner EJ and a rogue lover VS. Henry arrived back at the nest to find EJ incubating two eggs, the fruit of a liaison with VS. Henry, in a fit of pique worthy of any second-rate soap ‘star’, promptly kicked the two eggs out of the nest, dashing one on the ground and leaving the other perched precariously on its rim.
Staff at the osprey centre say VS has a reputation as a two-timing Lothario, having tried it on with females elsewhere in the area. Sadly for the observers watching the drama, Henry wasn’t fooled when EJ laid a further two eggs; these too have been rejected.
Henry is described by site manager Richard Thraxton as ‘something of a hero’, much preferred over the flighty VS, who is not such a reliable provider of fish for the family.
All of which shenanigans leave the nest without chicks and staff at the centre ‘gutted’.
On a less violent and immoral theme, but not much less bizarre, bird lovers in Wales have stuck an artificial nest on top of a 50ft telegraph pole and daubed it in white paint in a bid to emulate bird droppings.
Staff at the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust hope this will give an authentic feel to the nest and attract ospreys to the site at Morga Dyfi, near Machynlleth.
Trust reserves officer Tony Senior, explained that ospreys like their nests to have a lived-in look.
The nesting platform has been installed because ospreys have been seen regularly in the area in past years and the man-made nest, constructed from sticks held together by wire, will give breeding birds a head start.
The group is following the lead of Lake District bird lovers who recently constructed nests for the birds at secret locations in the national park.