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11(10) - one of the three year-olds breeding for the first time this year

Exciting news – a record year

As you’ll know if you’ve been watching the webcam, the Manton Bay chicks are continuing to develop at an amazing rate. The oldest two chicks are six weeks old on Sunday, meaning that they could be on the wing within a fortnight. The Site B youngsters are similarly well-advanced and will probably be taking to the air just a few days after their compatriots at Manton Bay.

Excitingly, we now know that there are at least another seven chicks in three other nests (all situated on private land) in the Rutland Water area.

At Site N, 5N(04), who has been breeding in Rutland since 2007, has two chicks with 01(09). Having lost her mate, 09(98) in the autumn of last year, it is excellent that 5N has paired up with the young four-year old male and is breeding once again; 01 certainly seems to have taken to fatherhood very well.

Meanwhile, another four year-old male is breeding at Site O. 03(09) paired up with the metal-ringed Scottish female who first bred at Site O in 2009, last summer, but his inexperience and late arrival meant that the female did not lay eggs. This spring it was a different story; 03 returned much earlier and the pair now have three very healthy chicks in the nest. These three chicks are fourth generation Rutland Ospreys – their great grandfather is 03(97) at Site B! A real sign that the Rutland population is now self-sustaining.

If breeding attempts were expected at Site N and Site O, our fifth pair, was most certainly not. In mid-April two three-year-old birds, male 11(10) and female 25(10) paired up at another nest on private land, Site C. This is a nest that has been used once before – by a pair of translocated birds in 2003. Like the other returning three year-olds, we thought that 11 and 25 would spend their summer wandering around Rutland and perhaps exploring further a field. Not these two though. 25 laid eggs in late April and they now have at least two chicks in the nest. There is possibility of a third, too, but we won’t know for sure until the chicks are a bit bigger. Whatever the case, it is exceptional that two young first-time breeders have produced chicks.

11(10) – one of the three year-olds breeding for the first time this year

This all means is that we have at least 13 chicks in five nests, making 2013 a record year. The next few weeks will be crucial at all the nests. Fledging is always a dangerous time for the youngsters, but all being well we will have a more young Ospreys heading off to Africa by late August than ever before. When you add in that translocated male 11(98) has chicks in the Glaslyn valley in North Wales for the ninth successive summer and that 11(10)’s sister, 12(10) is breeding at Cors Dyfi, you really begin to realise how successful the project is becoming.

We’ll have more news from the off-site nests, a bit later in the summer but for the time being check out our who’s who of Rutland Ospreys by clicking here.

5R

Look at me!

Confidence is growing in the Manton Bay Osprey chicks, and as you can see from the videos below they’re becoming quite proficient at moving around the nest and over the last few days have been experimenting with wing flapping.

One of the youngsters started the ball rolling (or should that be wing flapping!) and with all three up and on their feet it seems that it’s catching on and the other two are joining in the fun.

We’ll be ringing them over the coming week and it won’t be long then until they’re helicoptering above the nest and ultimately making their first flight.

One of the Nature Rides from earlier in the year all set and ready to go.

Nature Rides

In conjunction with Rutland Cycling, the Rutland Osprey Project will be running guided nature rides during the summer.

Discover Rutland’s natural side with a guided nature ride from Normanton to Lyndon. We will start at the Giant shop at Normanton and, at a leisurely pace, we will make our way to the Lyndon Visitor Centre where we will have a chat about the project. Before returning to Normanton we will have the chance to view Ospreys in their natural environment from the birdwatching hides.

One of the Nature Rides from earlier in the year all set and ready to go.

Along the way you will be guided by a member of the Osprey Project staff as well as a representative from Rutland Cycling. We will talk about the reservoir, the nature reserve and the Ospreys and will keep our eyes open to identify the birds and other wildlife on the way.

The rides are open to all ages and will run from 10am – 1pm on the following dates

Tuesday 16th July
Monday 5th August

The cost is £10 per person, which if required includes bike hire from the Giant store.

Booking is essential as places are limited, please contact Kerry Rough on 01572 737624 or by email at rides@rutlandcycling.co.uk

Stick around!

Stick around!

Now the chicks are much bigger there is less room in the nest for all 5 of them. Here is a lovely video of the Manton Bay Ospreys as 5R delivered a fish to the nest this afternoon.

Both at Manton Bay and Site B the female Ospreys have been gathering lots of nesting material. With space becoming limited in the nests, they are perhaps converting the ‘playpen’ nest into a launch pad in preparation for the chicks’ first attempts at lifting off the nest in their ‘helicoptering’ phase.

John was in Shallow Water hide on Thursday when he saw the Manton Bay female bring in two enormous sticks.

The first about 5 ft long and the second an even longer 7 ft!

Manton Bay female bringing in the first stick

Once the stick arrived in the nest we could clearly see it on the webcam.

The stick in the nest.

As she brought the second stick onto the nest she caught the end of it and for a moment was precariously balanced on top of it. After hovering for a short while she let go of the stick and it fell into the water below.

The second big stick

Upright

Going, going…

Manton Bay female bringing in a big stick, 2013

A talented bunch

We have a very talented bunch of volunteers on hand at the Rutland Osprey Project.

This video created by Dave Cole was put together from a day spent filming from Shallow Water hide on Tuesday 18th June. It’s fantastic to watch and gives a great impression of a day in the life of the Manton Bay Ospreys. It’s great to see how much the youngsters (they seem far too big to be referred to as chicks anymore!) are moving around and stretching their wings.

Following a shift at Site B, another of our volunteers Peter Hill sent an email to tell us about his time spent watching 03(97) – Mr Rutland, and his family.

“Today Helen and I had an incredible experience in that we watched next-to-nothing happening, but what we did see was memorable.

Let me explain. We took over at 11:50 and left at 14:00, ie 250 mins. During that time 03 spent 220 mins sitting in the small oak. The other 30 mins were 14mins to leave and return with a good sized roach and 16 mins watching the chicks being fed. The female never left the nest and spent close on an hour feeding the chicks and herself, and the rest of the time enjoying the sun or enduring the rain. I entered 4 lines in the records! Boring? Not a minute. What a guy who can fly off and return in such a short time with a meal for the family.

Oh, and by the way, we were also entertained by a spritely Common whitethroat who sat on the fence opposite and availed us with his powerful voice. Plus two muntjacs who were enjoying the sun on the ridings. We didn’t even get too wet. Can’t say the same for Mick! Just a couple of damp ankles each, though Helen needs new boots. Her feet did get wet, but a birthday beckons! At least I know what to buy her.”

Hope we haven’t ruined the surprise Helen!