Four Weeks Old and Monty's Frustrated..

It's been a changeable week here on the Dyfi to say the least. The 30°C heatwave has gone, to be replaced by more 'normal' Welsh weather for July. Sunshine and showers and temperate 20°C.

Both the young chicks have changed too - they now look like little ospreys!

There's a Big Wind coming..

At over four weeks old both youngsters have now almost completely lost their white downy feathers and look resplendent in their growing adult feathers. The primary feathers are growing quickly, protruding out of each protective sheath. At this stage, the feathers are described as 'in-pin' and the young osprey will peck away and preen those sheaths until they crumble, ultimately exposing the feather underneath.

Glesni joined Monty in sharing fishing duties again last week after a hiatus of three weeks and for the first time she has caught a species other than mullet. Her eighth fish caught on the Dyfi this year was a sea trout. The fish count has been fairly high again this week, 25 in all to maintain two healthy growing little ospreys.

Weekly fish count - totals will probably decline over the coming weeks as the chicks' growth spurt curtails

Here's a great video of Glesni feeding her two chicks in a strong breeze. They're a bit more mobile than they used to be!


Frustration Nest

Sometimes we hear people talk about ospreys building 'frustration nests'. These are birds starting to build an additional nest close to their primary nest. But why?

Frustration nests are usually associated with birds that have failed to breed in a particular year or birds that have finished breeding early. The Glaslyn male osprey is a classic example of this type of behaviour.  

Because both Glaslyn ospreys return to breed so early in the year (they usually have chicks by mid May!) they also, therefore, finish earlier. However, their biological clocks tell then that it's not time to return to Africa (or southern Europe, we don't know) yet. Problem is, the birds are still in 'breeding mode' in late July and August despite their offspring having fledged the nest weeks previously.

So a convenient interpretation for birds building supplementary 'frustration' nests (only a few sticks though usually) is this pent up urge the birds have do breed because they are still at their breeding site and breeding time of year. A classic 'displacement behaviour' where an animal's basic drive (in this case to breed) is frustrated owing to the fact that the chicks are well and truly grown up!

The Glaslyn male fetches a stick to add to his 'frustration' nest

So with all that cleared up then, what on earth is Monty doing here in mid/end of July..


He's not failed to breed, he's not early (in fact, he's very late) and the chicks are only four and a bit weeks old. This camera pole was here last year and we saw no such behaviour then, but since around July 20th this year Monty has started to build himself a second nest - just feet away from his main nest.

How very, very bizarre!

Just when we think we're starting to understand these wonderful birds, they go and prove how utterly naive we all are. How very humbling. Please do suggest an explanation if you have one in the comments below of what Monty is up to, because I have absolutely no idea!

Both chicks will be ringed next week - look out for a blog soon after.


UPDATE: August 4th.

We asked Roy Dennis what he thought Monty was doing, here's his response. Thanks Roy.

Some males do a lot of building as the chicks grow in the nest - it makes the nest flat and also more secure for the following year, but it is rare that nests have an obvious extra base just above them. The camera array top encourages the male to have the new nest at the most prominent place rather than down below the structure. He would prefer to use the highest site as it will have 360 degree vis and approach, if it was still there next spring he would use it.

This is what Monty's new nest looks like now, August 4th!!


  • Gravatar Tsj 29-07-2013

    Lovely images and info Thank you :)

  • Gravatar Margaret Eaton 29-07-2013

    How bizarre! Maybe he's building a loft extension to accommodate all the lady friends he's expecting to drop by next spring.

  • Gravatar Bea 29-07-2013

    Monty's Frustration nest....favourable weather and fishing conditions hence more 'free time' My OH farts about in his 'manlab' when he has free time.

  • Gravatar Paul_Woods 29-07-2013

    Great blog, thanks :-)

  • Gravatar Linda B 29-07-2013

    I was also going to suggest a love-nest for one of his many lady admirers. Of course, he might be making this nest for Nora, just in case (sniff....)

    Is it a training nest for the chicks to practice on when they fledge, or an extra "room" so the chicks have a nest each?

    He's a master builder, but Glesni won't let him mess around with the main nest while the chicks are still there and he just has to have something to do. Fishing doesn't take him long.

    He's signed up to Grand Designs?

  • Gravatar Judyb 29-07-2013

    Well, this is easy. Monty is building a man cave where he can get away from the wife and kids and dream of the one that got away!

  • Gravatar Sioux 29-07-2013

    Oh, come on, every guy needs a man cave to retreat to when the wife is getting a bit vocal (and we've all heard Glesni !!!) It's Monty's version of a garden shed ;~)

  • Gravatar Judy Morris 29-07-2013

    Monty is finding fishing easy and is bored, or knowing that his nest is somewhat reduced when he returns in Spring, he has decided a stick store closer to the nest will make easier building on his return. Wonderful images, videos and blog again thank you Ems.

  • Gravatar Sheena.davies 29-07-2013

    Great blog again Ems The chicks are so beautiful and growing TOO fast like all babies!!! could be Monty's idea of the hubby's garden shed MANTIME!!!looking forward to the ringing love to all at the DOP SheenaXXX

  • Gravatar IreneH 29-07-2013

    It's certainly coming on from those few twigs he had last week! Will you leave it there through the winter & see what happens next year (although it doesn't look as strong as the "man made" nest)? Another great blog - thanks, Ems!

  • Gravatar Jackie Hickman 29-07-2013

    He just wants a two storey des-res.

  • Gravatar Anne Hadshi 29-07-2013

    Could it be next year's nest?

  • Gravatar Mercia 29-07-2013

    He wants to choose the wallpaper himself!

  • Gravatar Thegreatgeraldo 29-07-2013

    Monty's not built a nest before, has he? I think he's had a eureka moment sitting on his perch - he keeps an eye on the nest, then looks up at the cameras & he's obviously thought, "Great place to build a nest, I've got plenty of spare time, let's give it a go!"

  • Gravatar Marc 29-07-2013

    Shed extension :)

  • Gravatar Dolly 29-07-2013

    Lovely blog, the fishing stats are really interesting, and a fantastic video of Mum and the Chicks. Films to treasure when they have flown :)

    Monty's frustration nest? I thought of a few things... higher up for next so the crows can't overlook the nest, fed up with being a film star and wants his privacy, feels redundant as Glesni is now fishing capably again and needs a nearer shed to escape to. We haven't seen him try to mate after the chicks were hatched this year - he did try with Nora last year and she rejected him I seem to remember. He has had experiences with a lot of females this year, (including one in the last month I am led to believe), so maybe his testosterone is just higher?

    Maybe he is bored this year, as the weather is so fine. It is quite a good nest, but I guess it won't survive the winter, or the crows would move in!!

    Thanks, Ems for the blog; also, Janine, Alwyn and all the Dyfi volunteers.

  • Gravatar Lisa Adams 29-07-2013

    HI ALL ,
    Could Monty be missing Nora?? Sadly she did not return this year???

  • Gravatar Rebecca 29-07-2013

    It's obviously the osprey equivalent of a shed - can he get Sky Sports do you think?

    Alternatively, maybe get a student in there?

  • Gravatar Buster 29-07-2013

    Thanks again Ems for the fact file. Maybe there is something in what Lisa says, I know we tend to, wrongly, apply human emotion to wild animals. Maybe Monty's frustration is that his excellent mate Nora did not return home

  • Gravatar Tilly 29-07-2013

    Perhaps he has internet connection in his nest and is worried about the ringing and going to hide the chicks.

  • Gravatar Eileen 29-07-2013

    Remarkable! maybe he thinks next year he can convince TWO females to stay on the DyFi but doesn't want to travel between nests. Of course, I'm selfish and want to be sure we can still follow these amazing birds next year would be awful for us if they decide to use the upper nest instead of the regular nest ... so hopeful that it will be removed? Or is that meddling ...

  • Gravatar Val Ledsome 29-07-2013

    Wonderful videos, Emyr, why not put them all on a DVD?
    Could help the funds and it would be lovely to be able to view them again and again !!
    Best wishes.

  • Gravatar Chris Wood 29-07-2013

    No ring the original male at Bassenthwaite started to build a new nest the year he had a new mate and completed it the following year when they moved to it from Dodd wood site

  • Gravatar Steph 29-07-2013

    Looks like an extension to me. House moving's too expensive these days so extensions are the alternative. Great film, stunning.

  • Gravatar Pete 29-07-2013

    Maybe he gets a better view of the surrounding area from the higher vantage point, or maybe he doesn't like the cameras in the flight path to the nest.

  • Gravatar BecOwl 29-07-2013

    Maybe he has decided there is plenty of fish and is trying to establish his own osprey colony (unlikely). Or he knows that next year there will be even more females passing through at the end of their migration and he needs somewhere to stash them all while he feeds them up. It's his red cross tent. I like the idea that he is doing it because he can and has time on his hands. And also the suggestion that nothing can sit up there and look down on the nest, e.g the crows.

  • Gravatar Silvers 29-07-2013

    Well I agree with those who have said, he's building another nest in anticipation of keeping more than one lady friend when they all queue up for him again next year :-)

  • Gravatar Silvers 29-07-2013

    Or maybe he is feeling a bit under appreciated, since Glesni isn't above doing some fishing and he's got to turn that energy somewhere, if he's not the sole fishwinner

  • Gravatar Jo 29-07-2013

    All those women this year he's thinking better develop an estate to accommodate them all !!!! LOL

  • Gravatar Joan Phillips 29-07-2013

    Lovely blog! thanks! As to Monty's "Extra", can only agree equivalent of a garden shed? Oh! Just a thought ...... tree - house for the kids? :)

  • Gravatar Hummin-bird 29-07-2013

    Another mighty fine blog with superb footage to go with it.
    Who knows what Monty is thinking, if indeed he is thinking at all. At least now I know what was making all that racket on the live streaming.
    But one thing is for sure, if that nest stays there and there is any chance of it being occupied next year, you had better start fund raising for some additional cameras pretty soon!

  • Gravatar Ceri Green 30-07-2013

    Maybe he's trying to drop the hint that it's about time the kids started thinking about leaving home!

  • Gravatar Ptooey 30-07-2013

    The "higher up" comments above are an interesting suggestion - would a natural osprey nest site always be at the highest point of a tree? Is the presence of a higher structure (the camera pole) next to the nest site making Monty feel like he's missed a trick?

  • Gravatar Carolanski 30-07-2013

    Is it a Stick Store for Gesni....

  • Gravatar Estelle 30-07-2013

    Looking at the stream this afternoon, perhaps it's not actually a new nest, but a sunshade for the existing nest after this extraordinary Welsh weather they had this year! (I assume that is what is casting the shadow over the nest...)
    I guess it could also potentially act as an umbrella for more normal Welsh weather...

  • Gravatar Carolanski 30-07-2013

    It's obvious now - to give them some shade!

  • Gravatar M 04-08-2013

    perhaps Montys saying were not going to have a bad winter, quite mild even, so they will be able to fish and so hes built new nest for the chicks to live in when they are old so no one has to migrate this year! OR maybe hes still missing Nora and thought if he built a nest higher up, she will see it and come home next year!!

  • Gravatar Alan 09-08-2013

    Maybe he knows the main nest is in need of maintenance !, so instead of pulling it apart it's easier just to build a new one nearby as the chicks grow and he has time on his Talons !.

  • Gravatar jillbru 09-08-2013

    I think Monty wants to have a nest that is at the top of the whole structure. He wants a 360 degree view, plus a 360 degree area for cruising into the nest.

  • Gravatar 4girls 09-08-2013

    He has heard that house prices are on the up again!

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