2008 to 2010
Two ospreys were seen to take residence of the new platform during the first year. One bird arrived April 22nd and a second arrived June 24th. It seemed likely that they were male and female and they showed signs of pair bonding. Both ospreys remained until late August before departing on migration. Both the male and female were unringed, but as there were no nest cameras at this stage we were unable to say whether either of these birds returned in subsequent years. Their late arrival suggested they were young birds that did not have a territory elsewhere.
The Dyfi River - the osprey nest is just beyond the bridge © Emyr Evans/MWT
An osprey arrived on April 10th; it was unringed and immediately took to the nest. It is certainly possible that this bird was the same bird that was here in 2008. On April 18th a second unringed bird arrived at the nest, comparing the sizes of the two birds led us to believe that this was a male and female, the male being the first bird to arrive. On the 23rd April the female left the nest and did not return, probably continuing to Scotland. At this stage the nest cameras were working. The remaining osprey had rather heavy chest markings for a male bird and distinctive orange eyes. This eye colour is usually only seen in juvenile birds, but occasionally one will retain it to adulthood. Henry, the famous Loch Garten male from 2003 to 2008, was one such bird. This male stayed around the nest site for several weeks without a mate, and he soon gained the nickname ‘Monty’, or ‘Maldwyn’ in Welsh, after Montgomeryshire of course.
Monty with his characteristic orange colour eyes. © MWT
On May 28th another osprey arrived at the nest. To our surprise this was very clearly a male osprey, he had a pure white chest and was of slight build. We concluded that we must have been mistaken with the first Osprey and that Monty was actually a female. The two Ospreys spent the rest of the summer building up the nest together, with both birds bringing in nesting material. We witnessed some rather unusual behaviour however; we did not see the male presenting the female with fish. Instead both birds went out fishing together and on a few occasions we saw the female give a fish to the apparent male! There were also several amateurish mating attempts and on each occasion it would be the female on top! At first we put this down to immaturity in both birds. Later we consulted the osprey team at Rutland Water for advice on this odd behaviour. They thought it was all rather strange and suggested that we might actually have TWO MALES, it was just about unheard of for two males to tolerate each other to this extent, but again this was put down to immaturity. As we were still uncertain we continued to refer to Monty as a female for the rest of the 2009 season and decided to wait and see what happened in 2010. Throughout the season there were far off sightings of other ospreys and at the end of June a third osprey landed on the nest, it was much larger than the other two; definitely a female and was also unringed. This was the only time we saw another Osprey on the nest during 2009. Both our 'regular' birds stayed until the end of August before they left for Africa.
April 4th was a busy day for Ospreys. Mid morning a large unringed female landed on the perch with a fish, she stayed for several hours before moving to the nest (image right). From here we were able to get a close up view of her markings with the camera and we concluded this was a new bird to the nest. Shortly after lunch time a pale chested, unringed male landed on the perch tree next to the nest. Again using the cameras we realised this was also a new osprey. Both birds stayed until about 4pm when they departed, unfortunately we did not see them again. They were obviously migrating through. At 7.15pm another osprey was caught on camera on the perch tree. With a marked chest and orange eyes we knew this was Monty. To remain consistent with the previous season we referred to this as a female. It was still unclear from markings and behaviour at this stage. As the weeks past and no mate arrived Monty remained around the nest alone, this seemed more characteristic of male behaviour. Like the previous season there were several sightings of ospreys that only stayed in the area for a short while, none coming to the nest. On June 29th an unringed pale fronted osprey arrived at the nest with a stick. When we checked his markings it turned out to be the young “scraggly” looking male from 2009. When Monty returned there was a more hostile reception than we had seen during the previous season.
With those eyes - it had to be Monty © MWT
For the next few months both birds returned to the nest and brought in nesting material, but at different times of the day. There were a few occasions where the two appeared at the nest together but Monty often chased off the young male. It now seemed almost certain that Monty was indeed a male after all. In July the recorded footage from the early hours of the morning revealed another visitor. Both 'regular' males had been seen mantling on the nest before another osprey appeared from above. It landed for a total of 6 seconds before departing and was not seen again. In those 6 seconds we were able to see this was probably a male and was definitely ringed with a white Darvic ID ring on the right leg. Ospreys ringed in Scotland generally have the Darvic on the left leg so it is most likely this bird was from Glaslyn, Lake District or Rutland Water. Unfortunately the camera was not able to pick up the unique two digit code on the ring, so we will never know the identity of that bird. Throughout July the sightings on the nest were predominantly of Monty, not the other male with the last sighting of Monty being on August 30th.
Monty on the day he arrived in 2010 - April 4th © Emyr Evans/MWT