We are entering the third week of incubation of our two osprey eggs here at WWT Caerlaverock. The eggs are incubated for an everage of 37 days and during that time our adult birds will diligently turn and rotate them regualrly to ensure even developement for the embryos inside. It is amazing to watch these big birds walk around the nest with their huge talons curled in under their toes to avoid breaking the eggs. Both adults have been taking turns with incubation duties- the male is just as willing it seems to sit on the eggs, which is not the case in every Osprey pair. Thier vigilance is essential not only to ensure an even temperateure for the eggs but to protect them from opportunistic predators during this period.
Third week of incubation
Busy incubating two eggs in the sunshine
There has been no sign of a third egg laid this year and the female is sitting tight incubating the two eggs. AW as usual is taking his turn and she had to physically turf him off the eggs at one point yesterday, maybe she was ready for him to go and catch another fish. There is more plastic sheet on the nest today, only a small piece of clear plastic but it is right on the top of the nest in front of the incubating birds. There is less wind today to blow it away. The weather has been dry and sunny for the last three weeks or so but the forecast predicts a wet day for tomorrow. A rare wet day in the incubation process this year.
Our ospreys are happily incubating their two eggs on the nest today and no doubt enjoying the beautiful spring weather. The eggs were laid on the 19th and 22nd of April and it now looks unlikely they will be joined by a third egg this year, as it has been more than a week since the second was laid, which is usually the maxmium gap between eggs.
However, two eggs is still a great outcome and most welcome as this is a relatively young breeding pair, and every Osprey born here in Dumfries and Galloway potentially helps these still vulnerbale birds recolonise their historic range. If both eggs hatch the two chicks will stand a very good chance of both surviving to fledging as there should be plenty of food to go around.
Osprey eggs hatch between 35 and 42 days after laying, with a pretty reliable average being 37 days. Some quick calculations reveal therefore that the earliest possible hatching date for egg one would be the 24th of May, but more likely the 26th, whereas egg two could hatch as early as the 27th, but more likely around the 29th of May.
Meanwhile the parent birds continue to be dedicated and vigilant as the eggs must be kept constantly warm and protected from opportunistic predators during the long incubation