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Hatching - Class of 2017

Posted: Thursday 25th May 2017 by Karis MWT

MWT 2 BobsMWT 2 Bobs

Two Bobs with a third on the way?

Bob 1 makes his debut

Volunteers, visitors and staff all stood crowded around every available screen waiting for Glesni to stand up and reveal her precious cargo. Having spotted a crack in egg number 1 on Saturday at 6.22pm, we waited all night and all morning with bated breath as she repeatedly got up, shuffled the eggs, and then sat back down again.

Then finally, at 12.45pm on 21st May, Bob 1 had his first glimpse of the big wide world. A wonderful feeling of both elation and relief travelled across the reserve as the news of his hatching spread; the 2017 season was well and truly underway! 

MWT Bob 1

Monty meets his 16th chick

During his six previous breeding seasons on the Dyfi, Monty sired fifteen chicks to the point of hatching. In this, his 7th breeding year, Bob 1 had taken his total chick count up to sixteen.

MWT Monty meets Bob

First feed

Monty had brought the sea trout to the nest earlier in the day at around 2pm. After he'd given Glesni a quick break from the nest, incubating the new arrival and his unhatched siblings for around 20 minutes, it was time for Bob 1 to have his first taste of fish.

Bob 1 has adopted some fairly unconventional feeding positions...MWT Bob talons up

When Mum says no, ask Dad!
MWT Monty feeds Bob

Round 2…

With Bob 1 well-fed and looking to be in good health, our attention soon turned to egg 2. At 10.06am on 22nd May, Glesni stood up to reveal a discernible crack in the shell. 

MWT Egg 2 Crack

We sat watching the cameras, trying to anticipate when she was going to stand up. For hours we zoomed in and out as she got up, swapped with Monty, sat down, and generally fidgeted on the nest.

Long after most people had left, and to the delight of the night-time egg watch volunteers, Bob 2 had hatched. Though it is unusual for ospreys to hatch at night, it is not a particularly rare occurrence; several hatchings have taken place under the cover of darkness on the Dyfi over the years. When daylight broke we were able to get a proper look at the new arrival, and at 6.06am Bob 2 had his first feed.

Two Bobs with full crops after a good feed. Note the pattern on the egg and hold that thought!
MWT Bobs full crop

Fashionably late?

Bob 1 hatched at 37 days old, and Bob 2 at 35 days old (though he was only 48 minutes short of 36 days!). We would expect Bob 3 to hatch at around 35 days, putting his due date on Thursday 25th May. We have been keeping a very close eye on his egg today, looking for any signs of his escape! This photo was taken earlier today, what do you think?

MWT Egg 3 crack


Now the real hard work starts for Monty. As the chicks grow so does their appetite, and he will spend more of his time out catching fish for his family. In around 5 weeks times the chicks will be ringed and will each be given names, leaving their ‘bobble-head’ days behind them.

Monty bringing the first family fish - a sea trout
MWT Monty to nest

As incubation draws to an end for another year, we would like to say thank you to all the citizen scientists for recording Monty’s incubation times. We’ve now got lots of lovely statistical analyses in the pipeline for when the dataset is complete (and I’m not being sarcastic, I really do love stats!) so look out for some results later in the season.

Last and by no means least, we would like to thank our team of tireless egg-watchers for the 24 hour protection they have provided over the last seven weeks. Seeing the Bobs hatch and grow is testament to the long nights and early mornings you all spent guarding the eggs, and with an ever-increasing total of 3,267 volunteer hours recorded for the 2017 season so far, it is clear that we could not run DOP without you all! 

We'll keep you updated with any 'breaking' news from Bob 3, so keep your eyes glued to the live streaming and watch this space...

26th May UPDATE

At 09:05 this morning, little Bobby Bach made his/her way to the world. We have a hatrick!

Video to follow over the weekend..


Here's the video..

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