Nearly two weeks ago, a new couple began settling in to their shared home in Rantasalmi, on the shores of Lake Saimaa in southeast Finland. The pair had flown all the way from West Africa and had selected a well-known nesting site that was about 20 years old. They were rare ospreys.
"Fortunately they made it all the way here to the north to nest. They would have flown over many dangerous areas. For example, they may have been shot at along the way," said nature photographer Juha Taskinen.
Taskinen set up a video camera to record the birds' everyday lives and to provide a live stream of their comings and goings on the website of the Finnish chapter of nature conservation organisation WWF.
"They got right down to mating and settled into the bottom of the nest. Once they got the base of the nest warmed up, eggs began to appear," Taskinen recalled.
More eggs on the way?
For most of Tuesday morning, the female seemed more inclined to relax in the nest while her partner kept himself busy adding some finishing touches to their home by lining it with strips of moss.
Finally at around 1.45pm it seemed that something was about to happen. The female appeared to curtsy and then stand. Suddenly an egg appeared in the nest.
According to Taskinen, the male returned to the nest five minutes after the new occupant appeared. Conservationists expect that the female will lay two more eggs.
"This nest has been good for rearing chicks. Chicks have hatched [here] in previous years and they've also learned to fly. It's often the case that the smallest hatchling gets sidelined and dies. This is a good couple," Taskinen declared.
Mates for life
According to the nature photographer, family life in the osprey household is very equitable, with both partners taking turns keeping the egg warm and hunting for food.
"On the other hand, at least in the beginning, the male brings more fish for the chicks, but they also take turns with that," he observed.
The staple of their diet is bream, which Taskinen said can weigh between 200 and 300 grams.
The Rantasalmi beachfront nest is made of twigs and is located on a rock although these birds often build their homes on treetops.
"In other parts of the world ospreys have been seen nesting in many different kinds of locations," Taskinen noted.
The couple's eggs will likely hatch at the end of May, while chicks will only be able to take flight at the end of summer. An estimated 1,100 osprey couples nest in Finland every year.
You can follow the lives of the rare osprey on the WWF Finland website.