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Thunderbolts and lightning

Thunderbolts and lightning

As Lizzie reported a couple of days ago, the three Manton Bay juveniles are growing increasingly confident on the wing and venturing further away from the nest each day.

It’s just as well their confidence is growing, because over the past 24 hours they have been subjected to the kind of weather that can have serious implications at fledging time. After several days of glorious sunshine, Rutland was subjected to violent thunderstorms overnight and then again this morning with two inches of rain falling in less than 12 hours. Many fledgling birds will not have survived such extreme weather, so it is a relief to report that all three of the Manton Bay juveniles (and Site B) are present and correct this evening. What’s more, the weather forecast for tomorrow is much better.

Despite the weather 5R has delivered several fish to the nest today, including the trout in the video below. Even when there is plenty of food to go around, subtle hierarchies always develop in Osprey nests and this year is no exception. 1J may have been the first of the family to fledge, but he is no match to his larger sister, 2J. Take a look at the video to see what I mean – she really wasn’t going to give up that fish!

Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day

With the school summer holidays now underway we’re looking forward to our Osprey Extravaganza family fun day.

Next Friday, 26th July, we will be hosting our annual fun day with lots of activities throughout the day for the whole family.

On arrival all our young visitors will be ringed as one of the Rutland Ospreys.

Being ringed on arrival

During the day there will be ongoing games designed to teach young people about the Ospreys, including fishing games and some relating to the migration route. We’ll have an arts and crafts tent as well as a chance to make a bug box to take home and to learn how our volunteers monitor the birds.

The arts and crafts tent

Learning all about the Rutland Osprey Project

Reserve Officer Lloyd Park will be holding bird ringing demonstrations throughout the day for those of all ages.

Bird ringing demonstration

There will be guided walks with our staff and volunteers through the nature reserve as we follow Ozzie the Osprey’s journey along his migration to the Osprey Viewpoint in Waderscrape hide.

Bring your family along for what promises to be a fun filled day for everyone.

2J's first flight


With all three juveniles having been on the wing for five days, their confidence is growing and they are becoming more proficient in the air as each day passes.

1J, the first to take to the air almost 10 days ago now, particularly has been exploring his flying abilities and has been dipping into the water. At this stage they are such fun to watch from the hides at the Lyndon reserve as they swoop around, reminiscent of teenagers on a rollercoaster having the time of their life and without a care in the world.

The young birds have started to venture further from the nest site and we’ve seen them heading east down the reservoir towards the peninsula before returning to their perches in Manton Bay, seemingly oblivious to the incredible, but perilous, journey they will soon be setting out on.

They are each becoming a bit more feisty too and there have been a few tussles in the nest as they battle for the ownership of fish, which 5R is still delivering to them at the nest daily. These arrivals of fish to the nest mean that we are still getting some brilliant images from the webcam throughout the day.

The three chicks all sat in the nest

My day with the Osprey Project

Hi, my name is Maddie and I am doing Work Experience with the Osprey Project today. This is my report of when I went down and watched the Ospreys on Manton Bay.

When we arrived at the hide we found the adults sat on their perch and two of the juveniles sat on white posts and the third hiding by a tree, a fair distance from the nest. When they seemingly got bored with sitting the juveniles would go and fly around but always landed near the posts. At one point I saw all of the ospreys flying about, as the adults were trying to get rid of an intruder. The three juveniles then decided to go and sit in the nest for a while, as the adults looked over them. After a while they seemingly got bored as they decided to go for a fly again and they all ended up being in the same places they were in when I arrived that morning.

The three chicks all sat in the nest

By the time it had got to 1pm it did not seem like I had spent four hours watching them, the time just seemed to fly by.

5J landing for the first time

Site B Again!

This post is by Abigail Mustard who has been volunteering this summer following on from her work experience last year.

Having done my Work Experience last year with the Osprey Project I was really looking forward to doing another two shifts up at Site B with Ken this season.  Both shifts were completely different being three weeks apart and the development of the juveniles was incredible.  Here are my accounts of the two shifts!

Compared to today’s temperature it was a cool but sunny Tuesday morning at the end of June when I first met up with Ken to monitor the Ospreys at Site B.  As we climbed over the first gate the cows in the field looked up curiously, but after realizing that we weren’t bringing them food they soon settled down to continue grazing.  As we near the second gate we stopped to admire the landscape and took our first glimpse of the nest.  We easily spotted 03(97) perched on the branch attached to the nest and soon after found the female sitting on the nest.

After setting up the hide Ken and I resolved to sitting outside in the sun for the shift – why waste the good weather?  We sat, observed and listened to the surrounding wildlife, focusing our attention on the Ospreys.  At first we could only identify two of the chicks but after moving to a different angle the third was just visible above the nest.  They were five weeks old and would be flying in the next couple of weeks.

20 minutes into the shift 03 left and headed south towards the water only to return five minutes later with a stick.  The adults will continue to maintain the nest throughout the season. Half an hour later 03 departed again and returned nearly an hour later having been successful in catching a medium sized trout.  As soon as he dropped the trout in the nest he heads off to sit on the new perch, leaving the female to feed all three chicks.

The best part of being at Site B is that you can observe more than just birds as I soon found out.  As we were sitting listening to Blackcaps, Green Woodpeckers and Great Tits all of a sudden a Fallow Deer emerges from the trees and very ably jumps over the fence and disappears into the barley field across from the hide.  The deer was a Pricket which is a male in its second year before the antlers have fully developed.

In the final hour of the shift 03 sets off again and hadn’t returned by the end of the shift.  The female throughout the shift stayed on the nest although frequently completing a circuit to stretch her wings.  As we headed back to the car we stop and take a final glance at the nest where the female sat quietly on the nest with the three chicks.

It was already sunny and warm when I met Ken on Tuesday for my second shift monitoring the Ospreys at Site B.  We greeted the cows who we assumed were awaiting the farmer and after relieving the volunteer, who had been monitoring the Ospreys from 06.00 am, we brought all the equipment outside and settled down to watch the Ospreys.  We had been told by the previous volunteer that 03(97) had not brought a fish in so it was expected that 03 would soon head off to fish.

All three juveniles had flown for the first time on Monday so we had to keep an eye on each juvenile when they flew.  To start with two of the juveniles were sitting on the nest with the female, the third juvenile perched on the branch and 03 sitting on the new perch.  In the first 10 minutes we heard the juveniles food begging call but 03 refused to move.

For quite a while all five Ospreys were sitting on the nest (03 had moved and was perched next to the juvenile on the branch) and it was amazing to see how much bigger the juveniles had become in three weeks as they were nearly as big as the adults.  At 09.00 am one of the juveniles takes flight and we identify it as being 4J and soon after 6J follows and they return safely to the nest.  As they land the female leaves the nest and heads southwest and out of sight.

Throughout the morning the female leaves the nest and returns with either twigs or moss in order to build up the nest.  As we admire the landscape there were Meadow Brown Butterflies flitting just above the grass never once stopping to land.

4J decides to again leave the nest and does a circuit, never straying too far and soon returns to the nest and whilst 4J is in flight the female shadows her to ensure safety.  At last 03 leaves the nest and south, but comes straight back without going out of sight.  We heard him utter intruding calls but as Ken and I look around in the sky we couldn’t see anything, although we did hear another Osprey behind us which wasn’t the female or 03.

At 10.20 am 03 leaves the nest and goes to sit on a fir tree, north of the nest after seeing off a Buzzard and a few minutes later he leaves the tree and heads out of sight.  Whilst waiting for his return we sit two heads emerge in the barley field across from us.  The Fallow Deer make their appearance once again this time it is a female and a fawn.  They stop to graze on our side of the fence but then they disappear as suddenly as they had come leaving tranquility in their path.

Out of all of the juveniles 6J seems the most adventurous as he leaves the nest to sit on a small oak and even when 03 returns, with a medium sized trout, does not return to the nest.

By the end of the shift 6J is still comfortably perched in the small oak, with 4J, 5J, 03 and the female sitting on the nest.  We have seen all three juveniles fly, 03 bring back a trout and the female build up the nest.  Perfect.

It has been great to see the difference three weeks has made to, not only the juveniles size, but also to their confidence.