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Three Eggs, Two Intruders, No Monty

Posted: Sunday 26th April 2020 by Emyr MWT

Telyn and Idris have a trio of eggs.

Last night there was no fourth egg, so now we know the clutch size for 2020 - three.

Telyn has produced three eggs in each of the three years she has been with us at the Dyfi. To produce a trio of eggs again this year with a new male is pretty impressive - and in record time too, just 11.5 days between both birds 'meeting' each other for the first time and Egg 1.

  • 1st EGG - 17th April at 05:58 (blog here)
  • 2nd EGG - 20th April at 01:40 (67 hours & 42 mins after 1st egg)
  • 3rd EGG - 22nd April at 22:56 (69 hours & 16 minutes after 2nd egg)

Here's a short video of the second and third eggs being laid with some slap-stick (pun intended) comedy in the middle:

When will the Chicks Hatch?

The earliest possible hatching would be Egg 1 at 36 days - that would take us to 23rd May. However, we know Telyn employs the 'delayed incubation' strategy that many birds adopt, so a more realistic date for your calendar would be 26th May.

Delayed incubation (see blog here) is a reproductive strategy that ensures the chicks hatch closer together in time than they (eggs) were laid, usually cutting the time down in half - three days instead of six.

This strategy, by way of evolutionary trial-and-error over many generations, results in the greatest chance that all three chicks survive and make it to breeding age themselves.

Telyn 'delays' incubating the first two eggs

In fact, Telyn laid her first egg in 2019 on 17th April - exactly the same date as this year. Last year the first chick hatched 26th of May, so we have a good reference point here.


Two (very welcome) Intruders

Like London buses, we didn't get one intruding osprey this week, we got two.

Both were ringed and we managed to clearly identify both birds with our 4K cameras at high frame rates.

It's uncanny. I was only saying to someone a few days ago that we haven't seen any Rutland females in Wales for a while now, the next thing Blue 3AF shows up.

Will she breed with her fellow three-year old, Aeron? Who knows, but there are plenty of platforms up for them, and plenty of suitable nesting sites if they choose to make their own. Yes, ospreys are quite capable of building their own nests.

Good luck to them.


Tragically, Monty has not returned this year.

I hate to say it, but adult ospreys don't take a 'year off', enter retirement, stay in Africa for a holiday, nor any other form of sabbatical. There is, I'm afraid, only one conclusion we can make.

If Monty was still alive, we would have at least seen him. He would have returned to the Dyfi where he has bred successfully for the last nine years and defended his nest from Idris or any other newcomer. Alas, we have not seen him.

It's all too raw at the moment to start writing tributes and obituaries, let alone compiling a Monty video. I'll do all of these things in September, once we have finished the 2020 season.

We will have a lack of good quality photos from this year due to all the restrictions we're working under - so maybe the 2021 DOP Calendar will just be about one bird and one bird only? We'll see.

It was very moving this week watching Idris strutting his stuff on what we have been calling The Monty Perch at DOP for a while now, it was so reminiscent of the man himself.

I guess now we have a permanent and indelible name for the ash/birch/larch perch.

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