At last Skye and Frisa are back into a routine, albeit a strange one for them. After my last blog Frisa returned to the nest and sat for 78 days in total, but then left it altogether and the birds went through a period of limbo when they didn't seem to know what to do. They would sit in their favourite tree together, then disappear for a couple of days at a time which is most unusual for them. Thankfully now they are back and we are getting great views of them, especially since we have a very powerful camera which we can pan around the landscape and home in on wherever our eagles are sitting, with the live pictures showing on our screen in the hide. Of course we have our telescopes as well, but the camera is over twice as powerful as our strongest scope so the images we get are fantastic. Sometimes we don't need binoculars, scopes or the camera; one day last week Skye left his perch and flew towards us and straight past the hide with great deep wing beats - obviously on a mission. It was a beautiful warm day with bright sun which highlighted his white tail, leaving our visitors speechless.
It is great to see them back, although it must be very odd for them to have no chicks to care for. They are both moulting heavily; they sit in the trees preening, then every so often give a shake of their wings and a huge cloud of tiny white body feathers appears like snow, and the trees look as if they are covered in little white flowers. They are spending a lot of time sitting together, maybe reassuring one another; one day they sat with their heads entwined in the way that swans do, and they often call to each other. With no hard work this year feeding hungry chicks, Skye and Frisa should be fighting fit by next year's breeding season, and they are both still in their prime.
Just an update on our Buzzard nest: egg number two failed to hatch, but the first chick is thriving. Now three weeks old it seems impossible that it could have come out of an egg the size of the unhatched one it is sitting next to. Both parent birds are bringing in food for the chick, ranging from vole to rabbit with plenty of frogs and slow worm in between. The female will not tolerate the male bird on the nest and grabs the food from him before chasing him off. It has been known for male raptors to eat their own chicks (possibly confusing them with other food left on the nest) so our female isn't taking any chances. Our visitors have been transfixed watching the female tenderly feeding her chick, but now as it grows the chick is greedily grabbing food from her almost before she can tear it up. She is busily bringing in greenery to line the nest and keep it as clean as possible, but already the chick manouevres himself to the edge of the nest to evacuate himself, so the nest actually looks cleaner than many I have seen.
So all's well at Loch Frisa, and if the weather stays as beautiful as it has been, our visitors can look forward to a fabulous trip.