31 May 2011
This is the image from the Aberfoyle Osprey nest. There's something badly wrong with this picture, and it's the fact that there is no bird sitting there. The first chick was due to hatch by now, and we should be seeing an attentive mother bird protecting a tiny chick from the elements and a proud dad coming in with fish.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the female seems to have abandoned the nest, and there is no clue as to why. There have been intruders, but not to the extent that it would cause her to leave the nest. She'd been taking leaves of absence which had made everyone watching nervous, but now seems to have left it completely. Due to the chilly weather and wind, it's almost certain that the un-hatched chicks will have died.
It's very, very sad. This is the third year running that this nest has failed, with different birds.
From a visual point of view, the staff at Aberfoyle will set up a camera at a back-up nest which will hopefully have chicks hatching out for people to see, but it is a mystery as to why this particular nest has suffered three consecutive years of failure. It's also perhaps a reminder that nature is pretty damned cruel, and how precarious the lives and success of the osprey in Scotland is.