Snow damage

Harry telephoned me last night to tell me that the osprey nest at site K06 had been broken off by the winter’s heavy snow. I went over this morning, but even with my 4×4 I couldn’t get through the forest tracks to the nest area because so much snow was still lying in the forest. I walked to the nest site and found that the top of the Scots pine, which used to hold the nest, had also been damaged by the weight of the heavy snow so was no longer any use for ospreys. Over two feet of snow had fallen on many of the forests in Moray in mid winter and the weight had broken many big branches and even the trees themselves. Next I checked a nearby tree where we had built a nest about 8 years ago when the nest tree was previously damaged by high winds. Our man-made nest had also gone, so I checked other nearby trees and found a good one ideal for building a nest platform, ready for the ospreys when they return, because this is a very successful pair of older ospreys, they reared 3 young last summer, and we do not want to lose them from this very secure site. We need to wait for better weather for tree climbing and nest building. With snow still covering the forest roads, it was ideal for checking mammal tracks to see what had been about – I found red deer, roe deer, fox, wildcat, brown hare and red squirrel as I walked back to my car. It’s great to think that in less than 2 months the first ospreys will be back from Africa but I wonder how many more eyries have been damaged by this winter’s heavy snow.