What dreadful weather

I’ve been monitoring ospreys nests this past week – viewing them from a distance with my Swarovski scope. Trying to check colour rings as well as the state of incubation. It’s been a dismal time with the incubating females looking absolutely ‘drookit’ with the rain, snow and sleet. I saw several females having a spell off the eggs while their mates incubated, they were sodden and their plumage very bedraggled. On Wednesday I was in Sutherland checking a remote nest to see if they had laid eggs in one of our pole nests and they had – I saw a change-over between the male and female in between snow and sleet showers – a bitter wind which at one point set off the ice alarm on my car – in May! On Thursday when I drove across Dava Moor to Strathspey it was white with snow – really bad for ground nesting waders and red grouse. The Cairngorms were really snow covered and any returning dotterel must have headed to lower hills as there was no where for them to find food. I saw Old Green J perched by her nest preening away in the rain while blue XD incubated – it must be off-putting for him to settle down in a wet nest and on top of that fishing must be difficult in the cold wet weather. Not very far from Rothiemurchus estate, I found an unattached female building up an old nest – what a pity Rothiemurchus did not come back to Strathspey – I’m sure he would have found her and may be there would have been time for a late breeding attempt. After flying north from the Scottish Borders on the 16th he turned back from Strathdon without coming over the mountains but the snow and the rain/sleet showers and low clouds would not have encouraged him. Nesting birds need a dramatic improvement in the weather or it’s going to be a poor year for some species. Supposed to be better on Monday – hope so.