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We are sailing

Don’t forget, on Saturday 31st May at 4:15pm we are hosting our first Osprey Cruise of the 2014 season! It promises to be a fantastic experience, as those who have been on these cruises previously can testify.

These memorable cruises are a wonderful way of seeing the reservoir from a different perspective, and the chance to see an Osprey fishing is an opportunity I for one would not want to pass up!

So why not join the Rutland Osprey team on our first cruise of the season! Book your place now to avoid disappointment! The cruises last for one and a half hours and cost £20 per adult and £12 per child. For this price, you will also receive a free pass into the Lyndon and Egleton Nature Reserves, either on the day of the cruise or the day after.

For more information on the cruises and to book your place, call 01572 770651 or click here.

Join us for our first Osprey cruise of 2014!

Join us for our first Osprey cruise of 2014!


Here is a photograph of 33(11) and Maya on a visit to the nest today, and a video of yet more nest building!

33(11) and Maya on one of their visits to the nest today

33(11) and Maya on one of their visits to the nest today


We believe that it is now too late for Maya to lay any more eggs this season, unfortunately. If the pair had been mating frequently and successfully over the three weeks since 33(11) was first accepted, then it might have been a different story. We can never know for sure. The pair are continuing to bond nicely though, and we have high hopes for next season!

All is not over, however, here in Manton Bay. There may not be chicks, but there are still Ospreys, and the Manton Bay pair will remain present in the Bay for the rest of the season. They will not abandon their nest, as they risk losing it if they leave it unattended. As we know from the numerous intrusions we have already had this season, this nest is very popular and will soon be taken over by other Ospreys should it be seen as available. The pair will stick around in order to defend their nest from the intruding Ospreys we are bound to see more of in the Bay!

Also, whilst we may not have Osprey chicks, we do have Kestrel chicks! The Kestrels have nested this year in the box viewable from the Lyndon Visitor Centre. In the absence of a nest camera, we were not sure how far along the Kestrels were. This morning we found out, as the chicks were sitting at the mouth of the box! We think they are about two or three weeks old. This nest box sits in a dead tree right in front of the Visitor Centre. The adult birds are seen daily flying to and from their nest, and when they sit at the open mouth, the chicks can now be seen too!

Three's a crowd!

Three’s a crowd! Photograph courtesy of Paul Stammers.




Hekki flew 10,420 km in 50 days from Mozambique to northern Finland

WOW update – Heikki makes it home at last

Two months ago our satellite-tagged Osprey from Rutland Water, 30(05), completed her spring migration. She had flown just under 5000km from the Senegal coast in less than two weeks. Aptly, she arrived home on the first day of World Osprey Week:  24th March. A few days later, the last of the nine Ospreys that we followed for WOW, began his spring journey. Heikki is a male Osprey who breeds in Lapland in northern Finland; making him one of the most northerly breeding Ospreys anywhere in the world. Having wintered on the coast of Mozambique he set-off north again on 28th March. 50 days and 10,420 km later, it is great to report that he has now made it home!

Our last WOW update showed that Heikki was stopping over in northern Egypt, beside the Suez Canal. After a five-day stop-over he set off again on 27th April, and crossed the Mediterranean to Cyprus. Like Malta, many millions of migratory birds are illegally killed in Cyrus each year  but fortunately, Heikki avoided the hunters and continued north into Turkey. He flew north through western Turkey, skirting around the northern edge of Istanbul and then west along the Black Sea coast to Bulgaria; crossing into Bulgaria airspace early on 30th April.

Heikki's crossed the Mediterranean from Egypt to Turkey via Cyprus and then continued north

Heikki’s crossed the Mediterranean from Egypt to Turkey via Cyprus and then continued north

Over the course of the next week he continued north, passing through Romania, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania and on the evening of 7th May he roosted by the River Daugava in Latvia.  Two days later he crossed the Gulf of Finland between Estonia and Finland. Although back in his native country, he still had almost 1000km of flying ahead of him and it wasn’t until 16th May that he finally arrived back in his breeding area.

Heikki flew through eastern Europe, before arriving home in Lapland on 16th May

Heikki flew through eastern Europe, before arriving home in Lapland on 16th May

Hekki flew 10,420 km in 50 days from Mozambique to northern Finland

Hekki flew 10,420 km in 50 days from Mozambique to northern Finland

Professor Pertti Saurola has summarised Heikki’s remarkable journey for us:

In spring 2014, the migration of Heikki the Osprey from the coast of Mozambique to his nesting range at the border between Muonio and Kittilä took a total of 50 days, i.e. 9 more days than his migration to his winter range in autumn 2013. According to the satellite, he travelled 10,420 km this spring, and 10,392 km last autumn, so very nearly the same distance. The distance from the nesting range to the wintering range along the great circle of the Earth, i.e. the shortest way, is 9,524 kilometres, so about 8.5% of Heikki’s migrations are ‘extra’ flying.

In total, Heikki’s spring 2014 migration progressed an average of 208 kilometres per day. If we leave out the tent days of rest – three at the Blue Nile, five at Suez, one in Ukraine, and one in Tervo – his average speed during actual travelling days was 261 kilometres per day. Last autumn, his average speed during travelling days was 416 km per day, i.e. considerably faster.

Usually, Ospreys are much faster during their spring migration than their autumn migration. For the moment, at least, it will remain a mystery why Heikki was so much slower during his spring migration. It seems especially strange that Heikki should ‘drag his feet’ once he was in Finland.

We are very grateful to Professor Pertti Saurola, the Osprey Foundation and and the Finnish Museum of Natural History for allowing us to include Heikki in World Osprey Week. To read more about Heikki’s spring migration, click here.

To see the migrations of all the WOW Ospreys, check out the interactive map.

Having been such a resounding success, World Osprey Week is now  an integral part of the Osprey Flyways Project – an exciting initiative that we set-up in 2011 in order to link schools along the Osprey migratory flyways and to provide wildlife education in key wintering areas. You can read more about the Osprey Flyways Project here.  Last month I was invited to give a talk on the project at the Donana Bird Fair. While I was there is was really great to meet up with teachers from two of the schools who particpated in WOW: Juan Baquero Perez from Colegio Publico Rural Campiña de Tarifa and Iker Sobrevilla from Montorre and Urretxindorra Schools. Special thanks to Iker who drove the length of Spain, from the Basque Country to come to the talk!

Signing up to WOW and the Osprey Flyways Project gives your school free access to teaching resources for primary and secondary schools and links with schools in nine different countries. Registration is very simple and completely free. You can sign-up here

Tim Appleton (left) and myself with Iker Sobrevilla (far right) and Juan Baquero Perez - two of the teachers involved in WOW

Tim Appleton (left) and myself with Iker Sobrevilla (far right) and Juan Baquero Perez – two of the teachers involved in WOW

A rainy day

A very wet day in the Bay today! The Manton Bay pair have been sitting around on the various perches for most of the day, occasionally visiting the nest, but not for long periods. A couple of intruding Ospreys came through the Bay, providing some great viewing of at least three, sometimes four Ospreys flying close to the hides!

33(11) caught a fish early this morning, and there were reports of a successful mating attempt, so all is going quite well, apart from the incessant rain! But the rain does make the air smell lovely!

Luckily for us, our Field Officer John Wright is a superb photographer, and he has provided some more amazing photographs of the action in Manton Bay over the last couple of days. This includes a lot of nest building, some pellet regurgitation, and an intrusion by male Osprey 30(10), who is Maya’s son from four years ago!

Male Osprey 30(10) intruding

Male Osprey 30(10) intruding

33(11) bringing another stick

33(11) bringing another stick


This stick caused a few issues later on

33(11) and Maya wrestling with the new stick

33(11) and Maya wrestling with the new stick

33(11) on his favourite perch on the dead tree

33(11) on his favourite perch in the dead tree

33(11) coughing up a pellet

33(11) coughing…

33(11) coughs up a pellet, see it just below the branch

…and up comes a pellet!

That's better

That’s better

Male 30(10) hovering above the female

Male 30(10) hovering above Maya

30(10) nearly lands on his mum

30(10) nearly lands on Maya

33(11) brings another stick

33(11) brings another stick


33(11) with the new stick

33(11) rearranging his nest

33(11) happily rearranging his nest




What goes around come around

What goes around come around

After a very wet night at Manton Bay, the sun has at last started to shine again and the smell of wild garlic fills the air. The female Kestrel has been sitting out on the nest box perch, and Willow tit and Yellowhammer have been visiting the feeders.

First thing this morning the male decided it was time to start the spring cleaning and began re-arrange the sticks on the nest, this now seems to be a daily chore. Both the 33(11) and Maya are regular visitors to the nest and this is an encouraging sign as far as the bonding process is concerned. We now think it is too late for eggs to be laid this year but are hopeful the birds will remain in the bay.

The first intrusion of the day was about 12.30pm when an unidentified female landed on the nest perch. She attempted to land on the nest but was thwarted by Maya and 33(11).The video shows Maya and 33 mantling on the nest.

The second intruder arrived in the bay at about 2.15pm and was able to land on the nest as the Manton Bay pair were away. This bird was 30(10) a male who was born at the Manton Bay nest in 2010, he first returned to Rutland on 21st June 2012.

Maya returns to the nest to be harassed by 30(10) but all we can see is a pair of dangling talons above the nest.

The day seems to be ending as it started, but this time it is Maya who is housekeeping and the rain has started again…

Quiet, but not boring

The Manton Bay pair have had a fairly settled day today. There was one intruder that bothered them briefly this morning, but apart from that the Bay has been quiet and peaceful. It has been a beautiful day! The sun has been shining, and the gentle breeze has carried with it that warm scent of spring. The walk down to the hides is an absolute delight! At this time of year, the meadows are a glorious carpet of resplendent yellow buttercups, and various butterflies flit between the colourful blooms.

Maya and 33(11) have not been on the nest all that much today, but they have been present in the Bay nearly all day, as we predict they will be for the rest of the season. Even if they just sit on a perch and do not do all that much, it is still a wonderful privilege and an awe-inspiring spectacle to view these magnificent birds in their natural surroundings. From his favourite perch in the dead tree by Waderscrape Hide, 33(11) has a great view of Manton Bay and his nest, and visitors to the hide have a great close-up view of him!

Here are a few clips and screen-shots of the Manton Bay pair playing with another stick yesterday!

33(11) brings another awkward stick

33(11) brings another awkward stick

Whoops, mind your face

Whoops, mind your face

Maya has a go

Maya has a go