Posted: Sunday 2nd April 2017 by Emyr MWT
April 1st 2017 started like any other really.
A fanciful story about a rare lichen that grows only on Swedish ospreys nests, discovered growing on Monty and Glesni's nest, and an elaborate translocation programme to remove the lower lichen-infested sticks to other osprey nests in the UK for biodiversity reasons.
It got a few hundred of you!
However, the real fun started a couple of hours later. At 10:20 our volunteers in the 360 Observatory started shouting "OSPREY OSPREY" down their walkie-talkies. Soon those cries were of "GLESNI GLESNI".
Sure enough, fighting crows back, our girl landed on the larch perch. Our new Larch-Cam captured the special moment - just like this...
This was a first for us, and for Glesni. Her earliest return date so far had been 3rd April, so she beat this by two days. Over the last four years, since she has been established at this nest, she has returned on April 10th, 9th, 3rd, and 1st - a clear pattern of returning earlier each year. She was also home before Monty, another first.
Glesni was soon in nest-furbishment mode, bringing back clumps of sward and grass, then re-arranging some of the sticks Blue 24 had meticulously placed in the nest for her during the previous week.
Actually, it wasn't long before both cousins were reunited. Blue 24 made two sweeps over the nest before giving up - these girls have history, there was no need for a protracted fight. Blue 24 was testing the water, having a quick look. Her cousin was in great condition following her long journey home. Game over.
Caught with the new 4K camera - Blue 24 dive bombs Glesni
As if the rare Swedish lichen, Glesni returning home and Blue 24 stomping through weren't enough to have us reaching for the beta-blockers, there was one last, rather momentous, heart-racing event still to come.
Just as he did last year, and beating all previous arrival records, Monty joined the party just before 4pm. Cue crazy celebrations and stranger-hugging behaviours in the visitor centre and Obs. Our boy was back.
Monty returns, with little introduction
So no pre-mating nuptials, none of the usual 'hello-again-mantling' stuff. Straight down to business. Is this the behaviour of two birds that have several years' experience with each other under their belts (ahem), or did they meet up on the way back to the Dyfi, negating any need for introductory rituals?
We're off for another season and the hard work over the winter getting everything prepared is already a distant memory. We hope you like the new 4K nest cameras, the appeal now has just passed the £15,000 mark - we're three-quarters of the way there. Thank you so much to everyone that has donated and allowed us to show you these amazing pictures. The donate buttons are on the Live Streaming page if you would like to contribute.
Despite all of yesterday's ecstasy, our thoughts were also with Blue 24 and Dai Dot.
We have seen no sign of Dai this year, nor has anyone else. He's usually an early arriver so it doesn't bode well for him - you may remember we photographed him last April with what seemed like an injury under his right wing, shortly after being displaced by another male at his mid Wales nest. We're not giving up on him yet, but this last week just gone was, statistically anyway, the most likely time to have seen him.
So what of Blue 24? We know she has been visiting other nests since she arrived back in Wales on 24th March, but they are either unoccupied or have resident females present. Monty is the first male back of any of the Welsh nests this year - a few years ago he was the last!
Look out for a blog next week which is potentially some great news for Blue 24. She's seven years old now, we've all (re)fallen in love with her again and hope that this year, finally, will be her year.
If you missed our "Love Blue 24" video last week, shot with the new cameras during the first week she was with us alone, here it is:
Good luck cariad.