Nora's First Egg
The weather throughout Wednesday 18th April had been pretty average. Overcast, windy, and rather cold. Monty and Nora got on with everyday life but from around 4pm Nora really had the fidgets. Restless, agitated, moving from one side of the nest cup to the next - her feathers were ruffled, one of them was anyway. She paid scant attention, clearly something else was on her mind.
Brilliant sunshine for the first time in the day just after 7pm
At 7.03pm Nora sat down on the floor of the nest cup and started swaying from side to side. She was looking around as if she was looking for something, it can't have been food - she had just eaten the best part of a medium sized sea trout. Monty was on the ash tree perch 10m away, he knew something was afoot and was not getting involved. Then at 7.06 Nora stood up, just for a few seconds, and looked underneath her..
We had the quickest of glimpses of a shiny, crimson red egg. After being with Monty for 16 days, exactly the same time period as in 2011, Nora had laid an egg. It is also exactly a week earlier than last year (April 25th).
So why did she not lay a little earlier? - as an osprey pair get established they tend to lay a bit quicker than their first year together, sometimes as early as 10 days. As soon as Monty arrived on April 2nd we noticed that he wasn't too keen to share his fish - he did look a little thin after his arrival back from Africa so maybe he had good reason not to give his food away, at least until he had a few day's worth of fish inside him. The weather has been unseasonably cold as well since Monty's return plus the mobbing by carrion crows seemed greater this year. Maybe all or none of these factors had an effect?
Nora has had her fair share of grief from corvids since her return on March 24th
Not that anyone was panicking at the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust (yeah right!), but we think even Monty was starting to get a little nervous. On several occasions over the last couple of days we had seen him crouch down in the nest and lay flat in the nest cup, exactly as he would do if he was incubating - a bit like Dads practising holding the baby before the actual birth!.
Monty is already incubating - two days before Nora lays an egg!
Here's the moment then at 7.06pm, April 18th when Nora laid her first egg of the 2012 season - it's nothing too egg-citing - blink and you'll miss it..