A tryst that will ruffle the feathers as duo 'cheat' on their other halves.
THE early bird got more than the worm when one of Northumberland's male ospreys arrived back from its African migration.
The early-arrival male, called YA, has enjoyed a fling with one of Kielder Water & Forest Park's females - before their other halves from last year turn up.
The male arrived first at Kielder and the female, known as Mrs 37, showed up three days later.
With their partners still away, they shared a romantic encounter before the male sealed their new found affection with a gift - a freshly-caught trout from Kielder Water. The species, which normally form faithful pairs for life, have bred successfully at Kielder every season since they returned to the North East in 2009.
This is the first year at Kielder that an established female has returned before her male and another established male is already present without his female partner to court.
While the interlude might initially ruffle the feathers of their partners, it is hoped that they too will return home safely to breed with their respective half and all will be forgotten.
Joanna Dailey, Kielder osprey expert volunteer, said: "We're very excited by the arrival of our birds.
"This 'hedging the bets' is normal behaviour, and it is fascinating to observe, but we hope it will end very soon with the arrival of the long term partners."
The romantic drama is being watched by visitors through a camera on the nest with footage beamed to visitors at Kielder Castle.
Joanna said: "It is perhaps surprising that YA did not encourage Mrs 37 to move to his own nest.
"Maybe he thinks he can sustain two females and young. This can happen occasionally but usually fails."
Now observers are waiting to see if feathers fly when the missing regular mates return.
Meanwhile, Northumberland Wildlife Trust volunteer, professional ecologist and qualified tree climber Neil Beamsley has put the finishing touches to a new osprey platform installed on an island in the Bakethin nature reserve at the top end of the Kielder Reservoir.
This was a joint project between Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Northumbrian Water.
The Forestry Commission England's ornithologist was on hand to provide advice on the construction of the nest which mirrors the natural nest building process of ospreys. Brash and moss was brought over to the island by boat with larger branches coming from trees felled on the island.
Last year at Kielder Water and Forest Park two established nests saw three chicks fledge from each - a first. A third pair of ospreys bred for the first time on another nest platform erected by the Forestry Commission, producing two healthy offspring.
Another first was the attaching of trackers to two young birds from Nest 1 and Nest 2. The trackers showed that one of the ospreys raised at Kielder last year hitched rides on ships during her migration to Africa.
And another youngster from the neighbouring nest at Kielder demonstrated a liking for lengthy stopovers on the 3,000-plus mile flight.
Maybe he thinks he can sustain two females and young. This can happen but usually failsJoanna Dailey, Kielder osprey expert volunteer
The two ospreys that arrived early at Kielder exchange amorous glances