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Come and see the Manton Bay pair this Easter weekend

Come and see the Manton Bay pair this Easter weekend

The Manton Bay female and 5R have been in the bay this morning. Here is a clip of the pair on the nest earlier today with 5R nest scraping.

Tim will post an update later today of our morning spent watching them from Shallow Water hide and Michelle will have the latest from Site B

Come down and visit Lyndon Visitor Centre this Easter weekend to see the pair in Manton Bay.

Welcome home trout

If you’ve watched an Osprey nest during the summer, you’ll know that it’s the male’s job to provide fish for his family. 5R has proved himself to be a master fisherman over the past few summers, but this afternoon the roles were reversed. A few minutes after he arrived in the bay his mate presented him with a fine Rutland trout. Now there’s a welcome home gift for you!

He’s back!

Brilliant news from Manton Bay! Just when we were starting to worry about 5R (he returned on 19th March last year) he’s arrived back. A few minutes ago volunteer Rick Pegler phoned the Lyndon Centre to say that a second Osprey had appeared in the bay. We quickly rushed to the TV to see 5R standing on the nest! We’ll have more news tomorrow, but for now it’s just great to see a pair of Ospreys re-united in Manton Bay!

The Manton Bay female with a fine Rutland trout

A game of charades ….

The anticipation of the return of Ospreys to these shores is always an exciting time. And with the weather being more appropriate for Christmas, what better time for a game of charades. Is it TV, film, theatre? No, it’s a documentary …

 

The Rutland Osprey volunteers eagerly attended the pre-season meeting on the 19th knowing that 03(98) had returned on the 17th and the young four year old female, 00(09) on the very day of the meeting.  It is always an exciting time as our birds start to arrive, we catch up with fellow volunteers after the winter and the Project Team give us our orders for the coming months.  For the past two years we have been treated to tales from their African trips, and having travelled with them in 2011 and 2012, I was eager to learn what they had been up to.  We were in for a surprise, as John Wright, Field Officer, showed us photos from the trip giving background details as he went along and with an occasional quip thrown in for our amusement. Tim and John signed copies of ‘the book’ for volunteers and the nightshift rotas were available for anyone dedicated (or mad) enough to guard our nests during incubation.

 

Next up in the game … it’s a book …

 

The ‘Rutland Water Ospreys’ went on sale on the day of our meeting. The book tells the wonderful success story of the reintroduction of Ospreys to England. It is beautifully written by Tim and illustrated throughout with John’s fantastic photos and drawings.  I was delighted, as a contributor, together with several other volunteers, to be invited to a luncheon to celebrate the publication. It took place last Friday, and by now the Manton Bay female had returned.  As I drove towards Lyndon, I glimpsed briefly towards the nest and saw her on the French Perch – my first sighting of an Osprey this year. It was so interesting to listen to Tim Appleton explaining how the Project first came about, when he watched two Ospreys spend the summer of 1994 at Rutland Water. He assumed them to be a pair and was hoping for their return next summer, but when he contacted Roy Dennis to see what could be done about encouraging Ospreys to breed at Rutland Water, he soon found out that he was wrong in that assumption. However, the contact was made, a translocation was undertaken, only made possible with funding from Anglian Water and the rest is history. The book tells the story from that initial contact, up to the present day. The trials and tribulations of the translocation were both poignant and amusing; travelling down from Scotland with young Ospreys caged behind you, and no separation between them and the cab, made for an ‘interesting’ journey, as Andy Brown from Anglian Water regaled – he certainly made sure that he had the translocation licence in his pocket when stopping for petrol, covered in Osprey guano. As we listened to Andy, Tim Appleton and Roy Dennis, it was obvious to everyone what friendship and trust must have existed at the beginning of their relationship, and more importantly, how it still exists. Helen Mcintyre was also involved at the beginning, and although Tim Mackrill was not involved professionally at the start, he was certainly there as a young teenage volunteer, later taking over from Helen. One of the most interesting statements made by Tim M. was that without the translocation, Ospreys would probably not have spread south, for about a century as they are so site faithful, a sobering thought. As we took lunch in the centre, we had the opportunity to see many of John Wright’s original sketches and paintings that appear in the book. They are beautiful and Roy generously admitted that John is an expert in identifying individual Ospreys from their plumage, better than Roy himself.

 

Yes, we’re still playing Charades and this one is theatre ….

 

Fast forward twenty four hours to Saturday evening and I was helping out at the Oakham School Theatre, where ‘A Musical Migration’ was being staged, narration by Tim Mackrill and songs sung by Global Harmony. This event came about when the choir invited a French choir, on an exchange visit, to take an Osprey cruise last summer. As the Rutland Belle approached Whitwell harbour, the choirs sang a Senegalese song. Paul Stammers and Michelle Househam, project officers on that cruise, came up with the idea of a story about an Osprey’s migration back to Rutland in Spring, interspersed with songs from countries along the route. Global Harmony is a cappella world music choir and they included songs from Ghana,Guinea,Senegal, Southern Spain,Asturias,France,Wales and the Highlands of Scotland. The choir kindly chose this event  to be their charity performance of the year.  Tim had written the script which told us about 09(98)’s epic trip last Spring and the backdrop was provided by John’s amazing photos.  It was a truly wonderful performance and all proceeds will go to the Osprey Migration Foundation.

 

The game of charades is over, but watch out for the film ….

 

Today, Wednesday 27th March, the holiday was over and it was back to work. I joined Don, my co-volunteer, for the first shift to be undertaken at Waderscrape this year. The Manton Bay female is still alone, awaiting 5R.  A few moments before we arrived at the hide we were informed by John that she had just caught a sizeable trout and was eating it on the nest. Soon after that she was flushed off the nest and carried her fish over to the nest post in Heron Bay where she proceeded to carry on eating although being seriously hassled by gulls, at times causing her to duck.  Two of the visitors this morning included one of the choir members from Global Harmony, together with her husband. She too had been fascinated by 09(98)’s story and had come along to see her first Osprey. They observed her through the project’s brand new Swarovski telescope – Swarovski were very kind sponsors of ‘A Musical Migration’. As they left the hide, the female returned to the Manton Bay perch with her fish, so I called them back and they were delighted to get a closer view of her. It was exceptionally cold and the female Osprey cut a solitary figure in her wait for the return of her partner. The unseasonal weather must be affecting the migration of many of our birds, so we will continue our wait for him.

 

The Manton Bay female with a fine Rutland trout

 

 

 

Habemus haliaetum

Habemus haliaetum

Project volunteer Ken Davies will be keeping a diary again this year. Here’s his first blog of the 2013 season…

If you had been wandering in a remote and snowy region of Rutland on Sunday 17th March, you might by chance have stumbled on a humble wooden shed on the edge of a gloomy wood. At first, it would have appeared deserted and neglected, having stood empty and unused throughout this cruel winter. But as you approached, eager to seek shelter after a cold morning’s walk, a strange phenomenon would have greeted you. For, as you gazed in wonder, you would have seen white smoke issuing from a small chimney in the roof of the shed ~ at first the merest wisps, but then thicker clouds of pure white smoke! Was the shed on fire? Was someone, a hermit perhaps, cooking breakfast inside? Were you witnessing some ancient Rutland ritual?

You might have approached more closely, your curiosity aroused but your fears holding you in check. Just as you were thinking it might be better to turn back and return to civilisation, you would have seen the door of the shed suddenly burst open, and a dishevelled figure run out into the snow, shouting over and over again and pointing crazily across the field to the barely visible edge of the next woodland : ‘Habemus haliaetum! Ecce, habemus haliaetum! We have an Osprey! Look, we have an Osprey.’

It was true. One look, and you would have seen for yourself. An Osprey had returned to the Site B nest, and the watcher in the shed had seen it and lit his primitive stove, sending white smoke into the air and telling the world : ‘03 is back. Mr Rutland has come back again to claim his ancestral home once more.’ Maybe not from Argentina, like that other illustrious recipient of white smoke, but certainly from Africa, and welcomed with no less joy and thanksgiving here in the centre of England. He has made it yet again. Hurrah indeed! Rejoice in the news!

The watcher in the shed, calmer now but still inwardly ablaze, prepares to send the message out ~ good news indeed for all his followers waiting for word from him. Soon the county, the country, and the worldwide Osprey community, is told. One bird has awoken the nation, nay, the world! He is in the vanguard and others will now undoubtedly follow. Prepare yourselves, comrades, polish your binoculars, clean your boots and sharpen your pencils, study the rotas and set your alarm clocks! It’s starting again at last! The 2013 season has begun!

Ken Davies