Duelling Ospreys

09th April 2012
Once again it's Osprey time, late March through April, they always turn up on passage around the various Reservoirs in the Brecon Beacons. I don't have many sightings, just the usual brief one off, then they seem to disappear. So when I heard about a sighting locally I went to have a look and there was one bird sitting in a pine tree on the banks of the Cantref Reservoir on the A470 Merthyr to Brecon road. It gave some excellent scope views and I took some shots for record purposes, While I was looking through my scope I heard a big splash away to my left and I realised there was another bird which had come over and dived straight into the water, it caught quite a large rainbow trout and when it tried to take off again it couldn't because the fish was too heavy, so it had to drag it across the water to the bank of the reservoir. This prompted the original Osprey to fly down and try and steal the fish, there started an almighty scrap with both birds struggling to take the fish. They were both pulling in opposite directions and then coming together trying to tear chunks out of the trout. The bird that originally caught the fish just about came out on top and managed to fly off with it's catch. It flew away to the East over the mountain, I thought that was the end of it, the remaining bird went back to its tree and settled down. However, about 30 minutes later the other bird reappeared, still with half the fish in its talons, it obviously couldn't eat it all in one go. It circled around and then settled in a Pine tree high up on the mountain. The first bird tried to catch a fish for itself but in my time there was unsuccessful, unfortunately the rain came in quite heavy and forced me to leave. There is a final twist to the story, and that is my mate, who was walking up on a mountain about five miles away reported that he had a very unusual sighting of an Osprey eating a fish on top of a 'Trig' point. Then it flew off west, my direction, with half the fish still in its talons. It must have been the same bird, it's too much of a coincidence, what an unusual and very entertaining series of events.
I took a whole raft of shots, unfortunately from a distance, so they are only for a record.
Please see UK Birds.