Although there have been some tremendous sightings of our ospreys from the Dodd Viewpoints this year, fishing, flying and perching in the ‘Y tree’ there have been very few sightings on the nest. This has been because Unring has been visiting it only very fleetingly. Our live CCTV view of the nest has been a bit like hosting an invisible lodger, although instead of washing up appearing and disappearing and the odd move of furniture it has been the sticks, moss and grass that have been added or their position changed.
However, on Friday we had the joy of seeing Unring settle on a nearby branch with an ENORMOUS trout. He obviously thought that home would be a quiet place to enjoy a late lunch. He reckoned without taking the beady eyes of his lady friend, Longstreak, into consideration. Seeing her homing in from afar he hopped onto the nest and started mantling his prey, hiding it with his wings – perhaps she wouldn’t notice?
Small chance of that! A minute later she was standing beside him and with determined subservience edged nearer and nearer, peering under his pinions to catch a glimpse of his piscatorial prey. With a palpable sigh he flicked back his wings – she was obviously going to win so it might as well be now as in 3 minutes time. She neatly hooked it with her beak, transferred it to her claws and turning her back on him, took off. Well – what are men for but to look after hungry ladies?
Update on No 14 – as you can see he has definitely made his home this summer in South Lakes with its wide estuaries, flowing tides and shifting sands. Hatched in 2013 he is fast growing up into a mature bird. Establishing a territory and demonstrating fishing prowess is key to getting a partner so we hope he has now put himself in an ideal position to start a relationship next year.
“He was alone. He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight.”
― James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Now that it is damper and despite the earlier drought one tough plant is blooming now all along the wood edges. One of the most attractive plants of the forest its flowers stand around the stem like a wand of white stars. This is probably what has inspired its common name ‘Enchanter’s Nightshade’. Its Latin designation Circaea lutetiana follows this theme from Circe, a witch of Greek mythology and Lutitia the Latin for Paris, sometimes known in the past as the Witch City.
In fact the plant is not poisonous being related to the Willowherbs and no connection to the Nightshades.
It needs no enchantment though to still view ospreys from Dodd. Unring continues to guard his territory and visits his nest daily. At least 2 other ospreys are regularly seen at the South end of the lake – probably Longstreak the young unringed female and Blue 2H from the North end of the Lake. However, as mid August approaches it is getting time for the female birds to set off for Africa from all over the country so it is worth keeping a lookout on any piece of water for sightings of these birds migrating.