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By Michelle on April 24, 2013
Do you ever have trouble working out who is who or who lives where? Then read on. All your questions will be answered!
Ringing and Naming the Ospreys
All 75 Ospreys that were translocated to Rutland Water between 1996 and 2005 were fitted with a metal British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) ring on one leg and a larger Darvic ring, with a unique alphanumeric code, on the other. All the juveniles reared in nests since 2001 have been ringed in the same way. Apart from in 1996 and 1997, the Darvic ring has always been placed on the bird’s right leg, with Scottish birds ringed on the left. It’s possible to read the inscription on the Darvic ring in the field using a telescope from a distance of up to 300 metres. In Rutland all the birds are referred to by their Darvic ring number, with the year they were translocated/fledged in brackets. For instance 03(97) was translocated to Rutland Water in 1997 and fitted with a white Darvic ring bearing the inscription 03. 5R(04) fledged from a nest in Rutland in 2004 and was ringed with a Darvic ring bearing the inscription 5R.
Breeding Ospreys in Rutland
A male translocated to Rutland Water from Scotland in 1997. He returned to Rutland for the first time in 1999 and successfully bred in 2001 at Site B, a nest on private land. The first Osprey to breed in Central England for 150 years. He produced 27 chicks between 2001 and 2012 with three different females. This year, he arrived on March 17th and has been breeding with the same unringed Scottish female since 2009. She arrived on March 30th and they began incubating on April 14th.
5R fledged from Site B in 2004 and he is one of 03(97)’s chicks. In 2010, 5R bred in Manton Bay with an unringed Scottish female and this was the first pair in Rutland not to include a translocated bird. In three years this pair have produced eight chicks. 5R is the male Osprey you can watch on the webcam since he arrived on March 28th, a week later than in 2012. His mate returned on March 21st and on April 16th they began incubating three eggs.
5N fledged from Site B in 2004. She is one of 03(97)’s chicks and 5R’s sister from the same year. 5N paired up with 08(97) in 2007 and she was the first Rutland-fledged chick to breed, successfully rearing six chicks in two years. After 08(97)’s disappearance in May 2011 she paired up with 09(98) and spent the rest of the summer at her nest, Site N. The pair successfully bred in 2012 and produced two chicks. 5N returned this year on March 28th.
01 fledged from Site B in 2009. He is one of 03(97)’s chicks. He returned to Rutland for the first time on May 20th 2011. This year 01 returned on April 15th and has paired up with 5N following the death of 09(98), hopefully they will breed this year.
Other Ospreys who may intrude at Manton Bay and Site B
30 fledged from Site B in 2005. She is one of 03(97)’s chicks and has raised eight chicks between 2009 and 2012 at Site K, a nest on private land. This year she returned on March 28th but her regular mate, 08(01), hasn’t returned this year.
A female from Argyll in Scotland. She bred in Rutland for the first time in 2009 with translocated male 06(00) and they raised three chicks. Following the suspicious disappearance on 06(00) in spring 2010, she paired up with AW(06) and they produced six chicks between 2010 and 2011 at Site O, a nest on private land. This year she returned on March 28th.
00 fledged from Site B in 2009. She is one of 03(97)’s chicks. She returned to Rutland for the first time on May 4th 2011 and spent very little time in Rutland. This year she returned on March 18th. Her early arrival suggests that she is ready to breed and is looking for a mate.
03 fledged from Site N in 2009 and he is one of 08(97)’s chicks. He returned for the first time on June 15th 2011. This year 03 returned on 8th April.
06 fledged from Site O in 2009 and is one of 06(00)’s chicks. He returned for the first time on June 11th 2011. This year 06 returned on 10th April.
28 is a three year old male who fledged from Site B in 2010 and he is one of 03(97)’s chicks. He returned for the first time on June 13th 2012. This year he returned on 16th April and as a three year old, he is unlikely to breed this year.
11 is a three year old male who fledged from Site N in 2010. He is one of 08(97)’s chicks. On May 4th 2012 he was seen by Adolfo Villaverde at Villaviciosa in Northern Spain and he returned to Rutland for the first time on June 24th 2012. This year he returned on 20th April and as a three year old, he is unlikely to breed.
25 is a three year old female who fledged from Site O in 2010. She is one of AW’s chicks. She returned for the first time on June 28th 2012. This year she returned on 7th April and as a three year old, she is unlikely to breed.
12 is a three year old female who fledged from Site N in 2010. She is one of 08(97)’s chicks. 12 intruded at the Dyfi nest in mid-Wales on May 21st 2012 but didn’t return to Rutland until 23rd July. She stayed in the area for one day and was sighted back in Dyfi on 29th July. This year she returned to Rutland on 27th April.
By Ken on April 24, 2013
Yesterday our regular diarist, Ken Davies, enjoyed a solitary shift at Site B. Here is his report.
Tuesday 23rd April at Site B
The walk to the watch-point is lovely this morning. Clear sky, bright sunshine, warming westerly wind. I touch the old familiar land-marks ~ gate-posts, tree trunks, feeding troughs. New features stand out ~ a repaired fence, a new strand of barbed wire ~ but for the most part everything is the same. Four horses ~ two of them springy-legged yearling types ~ think about coming over to say ‘Hello’, but then they spy a Land Rover entering their field by the opposite corner. The promise of breakfast is better than my offering of a friendly pat and a tickled ear, so off they go at a canter, leaving me to edge down the field close to the hedgerow. A faint double note suggests Chiffchaff, and as I approach the song increases in intensity until the bird is directly above my head, clearly visible in the still bare topmost branches of the tree, pouring out its music ~ so familiar, so special. As his congeners arrive over the next few days and weeks, the newly verdant foliage will hide them, but their songs will enthral me on my weekly walk. Already the wood is gently throbbing to the sound of Song Thrush and Blackbird, with definite hints of Blackcap and Wren ~ altogether a heady mixture of sounds.
7.45 am : The first view of the Osprey nest. They are both there, she lying low and covering the eggs, he on alert on the nest edge. Barely five minutes into my shift, I see why perhaps he was on ‘raised alert.’ Another Osprey comes in from the north-east and dives low at the nest, causing the female to jump up in alarm. Our male gives instant chase, pursuing the invader back the way he came. The two twist and turn, but eventually the rightful tenant returns, the female settles again, and order is restored. I notice a piece of red baler twine blowing in the breeze on a branch to the right of the nest. It is slowly unravelling, wisps occasionally detaching and sailing off in the wind. At least it’s away from the nest, where hopefully it will not do any harm. All is calm now. Time to watch, time to absorb, time to learn.
This is my first solitary shift this season. Our information booklet calls it ‘lone working’ and lays down sensible and clear rules to ensure health and safety. Now I really like all the people with whom I share shifts (I really do!), but the most keenly awaited stint, the most longed for day throughout the dreary winter, is this one : my first solitary shift of the year. And now it’s here, I’m here, the Ospreys are here. Secondary winter-time Osprey activities can be put aside for now ~ the books about Ospreys, the writing about Ospreys (apart from the diary of course), the collections of paintings of Ospreys through the ages (from ancient times up to and including JW), and the study of Osprey stamps from around the world (pandio-philately : another story!) ~ all absorbing in their way, but no match for what is happening right now, in front of my eyes.
9.00am : on the stroke of nine, 03 lifts off and passes over me to the south, on his way to the reservoir, I hope, and an encounter with a nice trout. A light westerly is just ruffling the neck feathers of the female as she gently manipulates the eggs beneath here and faces south to await her mate’s return. I crank the ‘scope up to x60 and settle behind it, scrutinising her face and head. She is alert, but at times the nictitating membrane flicks across the one eye that I can see, and she dozes momentarily, head lowered. In a fraction of a second, she is alert and tense again. I follow her eye line and see that a Kestrel has landed on the exposed topmost branch of the bare ash nearby ~ a favourite perch of 03 when he is here. She watches the small hawk with an almost tangible ferocity, until it flies off to hover over a mouse or vole in the distance. She relaxes, and so doI.Behind my lens, my reactions mirror hers : tense, at ease, taut again, distracted, intense, absorbed ~ all within a minute. I am passing through the magic mirror and entering Osprey World, for the first time this season. She glares down the lens at me. I hold her stare. Time and daily concerns cease to exist. Nothing external can penetrate. The outside world recedes, consciousness dims, but in another way is strangely heightened and sharpened ~ I am alert to her every tiny movement and conscious of even her barely perceptible occasional shimmer. It’s a magical state, rarely experienced, never fully explained. It can only happen here.
Later ~ I’ve no idea how much later ~ I follow her intense and fixed eye line again, and it takes me to a Red Kite on an exposed thin branch of a small oak tree away to the west, another favourite feeding perch of 03. The Kite is pecking and scraping the bare wood, which probably has a nice fishy flavour after bearing so many fish gripped in the talons of 03’s foot over several seasons. I revert to the female and find she is watching another Red Kite soaring over the nest and becoming ever bolder in his passes over her. He knows he is safe while the Lord of the Manor is away.
9.50am : The spell is broken as 03 makes a dramatic return with a good trout, imperiously clearing the Kites away with one sweep before landing on the perch and commencing his meal. Crows and a Magpie cower nearby, hoping for scraps, but do not venture too near. The female watches and waits. I resume my scrutiny of her while she continues to incubate her precious eggs. At 10.25 I swing the ‘scope back to the perch and find 03 just swallowing the tail of the fish! He has eaten it all! Nine minutes later he returns to the nest empty-clawed! The female is not impressed and almost pushes him out of the way as she launches off the nest for a break ~ she has incubated solidly for 2 hrs 29 minutes and now finds he has no fish for her. Having shared the whole morning with her, I can sympathise with her annoyance. At least I can have a sandwich! She does not fly far ~ just a couple of circuits, a half-hearted dive at a crow, and then back to the nest, where 03 has done just six minutes on the eggs! She shoves him off with very little ceremony and settles down again. He takes up his position on the bare ash tree (exactly where the Kestrel was) and starts a full preen. He has no intention of going fishing again just yet.
Time slows again, and then stops. Osprey World opens up again and I drift in. Two Jays hurry past in a flurry of pink, black, white and a trace of blue. Peacock butterflies and bumblebees are floating around in the sunshine. A distant Buzzard is making lazy circles in the sky. The Blackcap above my head is warming up too. 03 continues with his preening. Osprey World is at peace.
Too soon, oh far too soon, it’s time to leave. Why does time go so quickly here, and so slowly during many of my other tasks? I remember sharing a shift last season with a young volunteer who tried so hard to slow time down ~ she was enjoying her morning here so much she didn’t want it to end. I recall the look of disappointment on her face as we saw our relief approaching. It’s like that for me today. It’s been so perfect that I can even forgive 03 for eating all the fish!
Exactly on the stroke of 12.00 midday, 03 leaves his post and flies south, three hours to the minute since he last left. I hope this time his mate will receive a meal too. His departure is my cue to leave as well. I conclude the notes in the log and begin the walk back. A man replacing fence-posts gives me a cheery greeting and asks if I’ve had a good morning. ‘Yes, it was lovely, thank you’, I reply. I do not mention ‘Osprey World’ and the magical hours I have spent there. No, that’s my secret ~ and yours of course, dear diary.
By Lizzie on April 22, 2013
Over the years 5R has built up a reputation as a master fisherman and this afternoon he showed us all that he still has what it takes to live up to this title.
At 4.45pm this afternoon he flew into the bay with a huge trout. After sitting on the perch and eating it for almost three quarters of an hour, he delivered it to the nest and took over incubation whilst the Manton Bay female had her share.
At quarter past six our volunteers in the hide said that between them they had just about got half way through it!
By Tim on April 21, 2013
Spring is always a nervous time for the Rutland Osprey Project team as we wait to see which Ospreys make it back from the 6000 mile round-trip to West Africa. Sadly, this year we already knew that 09(98) wouldn’t be one of the birds arriving to re-claim his nest in late March. His satellite transmitter showed that he died on the northern edge of the Sahara, having been predated by an Eagle Owl during the night.
Last year 09 raised two chicks with 5N(04) – a female who fledged from the Site B nest in 2004. Unlike her mate, 5N arrived back in Rutland on 28th March and she’s been waiting patiently there ever since. Over the last few weeks we have received many emails and messages from those of you who followed 09’s story last September, asking if 5N has found another mate. Well, for the past few days 5N has been joined at Site N by four-year-old male 01(09); and they are already looking settled together. This is really encouraging and we’ll be sure to update you with more news in due course.
01’s not the only Ospreys to have returned to Rutland over the past week. Yesterday three-year-old male, 11(10), made several intrusions at the Manton Bay nest and today 28(10) has visited both his natal nest at Site B, and also Manton Bay. This brings the total of Ospreys to have retuned to Rutland so far this year, to fourteen.
Although it is too early to tell exactly how many breeding pairs we’ll have this summer, it’s certainly been a very encouraging start to the year. We’ll update you with the progress of 5N, 01, and some of the other Rutland birds later in the season but we hope you’ll appreciate the need to keep some information confidential for the time being. Sadly egg collecting and disturbance – accidental or otherwise – remains a threat. Last year, for instance, the police had to intervene when we caught two photographers underneath one of the nests.
For the time-being keep watching the webcam, check out our daily updates from Manton Bay, and if you can, come and visit us at Lyndon where you can enjoy some of the best views of breeding Ospreys anywhere in the UK. Watch out, too, for an updated Who’s who of the Rutland Ospreys which we’ll be posting on the site in the next few days.
By Lizzie on April 20, 2013
It has been a beautiful day today; this picture was taken at dawn from Shallow Water hide.
5R spent the early part of the morning incubating before the Manton Bay female took over.
At about 10.30am, as Tim and John were in Manton Bay, an intruding osprey flew over the nest. After close inspection they were able to tell us that it was 11(10), another Rutland bird returning for the second time. 11(10) is a male who fledged in 2010 and returned for the first time last year. He hung around for a short while before heading out of the Manton Bay area.
Meanwhile 5R was enjoying the sunshine so much that it wasn’t until early afternoon when he eventually brought in a fish.