As EJ and Odin settle in to their incubation period, after successfully laying their three eggs last week, the Osprey Team are also relaxing somewhat, after a very busy and fun Easter holidays. The past two weeks have seen the center alive with children whizzing around, enjoying their time off by learning all about EJ and Odin and the lives of ospreys, and using their activity sheets to tick off all the wonderful wildlife they encountered during their time in the forest.

A view of the nest from the Osprey Center by Alice Hadley.

Odin has settled into his routine of bringing in fish for EJ, he usually brings in one large fish a day for her, which she readily accepts! Doing 80% of the incubation, our attentive EJ is more than ready for a fishy treat everyday, and for a chance to hop off the nest, stretch her wings and enjoy the peace and quiet  of her surroundings from a nearby tree. Odin too is a very attentive father; I love watching the pair carefully swap over for incubation, talons curled so as to not break the fragile egg shells. Odin wiggles around a lot, making sure he is comfortable and his eggs are safely tucked under him.

Odin and EJ aren't the only ones providing egg-citing wildlife moments however. All around is busy with nesting activity. On my walk through the forest to and from work, I see aggressive battles between male chaffinches, eager to establish their territories and impress nearby females. Great spotted woodpeckers also dart past, chasing each other up and down the trunks of trees, all part of their mating display. Just yesterday, I watched a tiny coal tit hopping around outside whilst I had my lunch, with a beak full of nesting material!

The walk to the center is a great place to look out for woodland wildlife by Alice Hadley. 

I also love to check our goldeneye nestbox everyday, courtesy of a tiny camera we have fitted inside. I am told by longer standing members of the Osprey Team, that the goldeneye who chooses to nest in our goldeneye nest box is always called Gloria. Last week, Chris informed you that Gloria the goldeneye had laid three of this morning, there are nine beautiful turquoise eggs in the nest. I remember seeing my first ever goldeneye on a cold winters day at a local park where I walked my dog. I remember being encaptivated by their striking plumage, black and white with a distinctive green head and the telltale golden eye. I hurried home and read up on them, wondering why I had never seen them before. I learnt that Goldeneyes migrate to the UK from Northern Europe during the winter,with their UK wintering population being an estimated 27,000 birds. This compares with just 200 pairs of goldeneyes estimated to breed in Scotland! Goldeneyes first nested in Scotland during the 1970s and Scotland has since remained a important breeding area for them ever since, with special goldeneye nest boxes providing an ideal place for them to raise their young.

Nine eggs for Gloria the goldeneye...will she lay more? by Alice Hadley.

From our regal osprey pair, to our tiny coal tits, to our intriguing population of resident goldeneyes, Loch Garten is truly a great place to watch nature raise its young. 

Hope to see you soon,