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On the nest this morning

Every time it rains

Remember when 33 used to sit by Maya during incubation, as if he wanted to share it? Well this morning, he wanted to share the brooding of the chicks! Perhaps he was just trying to get out of the wind, but for whatever reason, he was very happy to snuggle up next to Maya on the nest, and it was a very sweet scene.

Getting cosy

Getting cosy

33 snuggling up to Maya and the chicks

33 snuggling up to Maya and the chicks

 

A bit later in the morning, he went on a foray for nesting material, and came back with a bit of grass and a stick that he dropped onto Maya’s back! She wasn’t that impressed, and stood up to try and shake it off!

33's gift

33’s gift

 

Then the rain began, and Maya covered the chicks to keep them warm and dry.

33 and Maya in the rain

33 and Maya in the rain

Maya sheltering the chicks from the rain

Maya sheltering the chicks from the rain

 

Whilst Maya protected the chicks from the elements, 33 went fishing, and he brought back a lovely big roach at about 10 o’clock. He ate a bit of it first, and when the rain stopped he brought it to Maya so that she could feed the chicks.

33's big roach

33’s big roach

 

She fed the chicks from this fish several times throughout the day, as it was much too big for them to eat in one go! 33 took it off to the T-perch for a while in the afternoon, then he brought it back again.

Maya feeding chicks

Maya feeding chicks

Maya feeds the chicks

Maya feeds the chicks

Feeding from the roach

Feeding from the roach

 

As you will know, the 2015 Osprey Cruises on the Rutland Belle have begun. The first one was on 23rd May, and it went very well indeed! Here are some amazing photographs of the Ospreys we saw on the first cruise, taken by Steph Murphy. Many thanks to Steph for sharing these photos with us.

28(10), taken by Steph Murphy

Osprey 28(10), identifiable by his bendy-wing

28(10), photo by St

06(09), photo by Steph Murphy

33(11)

Osprey5

We hope every cruise will be as successful as the first! The next two are sold out, but there are some spaces left on the afternoon Osprey cruise on Saturday 20th June – click here to book your tickets!

There is also one space left on the afternoon cruise on 27th June – and don’t forget, Saturday 27th June is Wild Rutland Day!

There is so much happening now at Rutland Water, click here to see all of our events!

On the nest this morning

On the nest this morning

 

 

Chicks line up

Fish face

Well today has certainly seen an improvement in the weather, after yesterday’s onslaught of wind and rain. It was a welcome change for poor Maya, not to have to crouch over the chicks all day in the pouring rain, with nothing to do but sit and doze. She has been able to leave them uncovered more today, stretch her legs and wings, tidy the nest. The chicks have happily slept, when they weren’t being stuffed full of fish!

Maya and the chicks sleeping, 33 keeping watch

Sleeping chicks

 

Food definitely wasn’t an issue today, and 33 brought the first fish in at 6 o’clock this morning. The female fed the chicks from it a few times during the morning.

Morning fish

Morning fish

 

The oldest chick is still being a bit of a bully, which is only natural at this age. Chicks fight as part of their normal behaviour, it helps to establish a hierarchy in the nest, and sibling rivalry occurs in all species. It’s normal for the oldest, largest chick to be the dominant one. Having a size difference in the chicks is nature’s way of ensuring at least one will survive, if there happens to be any problems, such as a shortage of food or a severe weather event that threatens their survival. All being well, all three chicks survive. Maya has successfully raised three chicks on three occasions in the past, and the year she raised two was because one egg didn’t hatch.

At other times, we have seen that the chicks seem quite happy together. They tend to sleep in a bunch, often with their stubby little wings over the backs of their siblings. Of course, huddling together helps them to keep warm.

Sleepy chicks

Sleepy chicks

 

We have also seen, numerous times, that food is no issue. The reservoir is stocked with thousands of fish per year, not to mention the coarse fish that breed, and if the weather hinders the birds too much, they can just pop to the River Gwash Trout Farm!

33 delivered another fish at around half past one this afternoon, which was only small, but it went down rather well!

Second fish

Second fish

 

As if that wasn’t enough, more fish arrived at 4 o’clock this afternoon – a large perch that still had its face on!

Maya grabs the perch

Maya grabs the fish…

Big bream

…and eats its face

 

She had a job manoeuvring it to a position she was happy with, as it wasn’t quite dead yet…

Chicks line up

Chicks line up

Eating big perch

Eating big perch

 

Maya did a good job of getting rid of all the tough skin around the head of the fish, and fed the chicks the nice, fleshy bits. The third chick had to wait its turn, as the other two resolutely sat right in front of it, but eventually the older two got full and Maya fed the little one. There was some worry in the centre from a few visitors on behalf of the youngest chick, but sighs of relief all round when it got some food! There is no need to worry about the little’un, Maya won’t forget to feed him/her, she’s a good mother and knows exactly what she’s doing.

Feeding the little chick

Feeding the little chick

 

You may have noticed the rather annoying stick that has been getting in the way of the view. Maya and 33 have both tried to move this today, but to no great avail unfortunately. Perhaps they’ll have better luck tomorrow!

Maya moving the stick

Maya moving the stick

 

 

33 has caught two perch today

Wet and windy

Today has definitely not been the day to be an Osprey on an extremely exposed nest in the middle of Rutland Water. As you’ll know if you’ve been watching the webcam, the Manton Bay nest has been buffeted by very strong winds all day. On top of that we had torrential rain for most of the morning, which made life very uncomfortable for Maya as she brooded the chicks on the nest. At such a young age the chicks are vulnerable to cold, wet weather and so Maya did her best to keep them dry. At times you could really see how uncomfortable she must have been in the driving rain.

Maya did her best to keep the chicks dry in the torrential rain

Maya did her best to keep the chicks dry in the torrential rain

Even when 33 brought a perch to the nest, Maya was reluctant to feed the chicks. After a minute or so the rain became heavier and she chose to brood the chicks rather than feed them; keeping them warm was obviously the main priority. In this short clip you can tell that she is unsure what to do.  When the rain eventually cleared around lunchtime the chicks missed out again because, in the intervening period, 33 had returned to the nest, taken the fish and eaten it all himself!

33 has caught two perch today

33 has caught two perch today

Maya was reluctant to feed the chicks in such heavy rain

Maya was reluctant to feed the chicks in such heavy rain

Knowing that his family would be getting hungry by now, 33 spent much of the afternoon fishing. Strong winds are a hunting Osprey’s worst enemy and 33 really struggled to catch. Maya, meanwhile, was doing her best to shelter from the strong wind; lowering her head below the edge of the nest to try and shelter. Several people got in touch worried that she was unwell; but in fact it seems she was merely trying to get out of the wind – and was probably also very tired after such a demanding day.

Eventually 33 caught a good-sized perch in Heron Bay, close to the nest. He took it straight to the nest and Maya fed the hungry chicks. Like yesterday, the largest of the brood was very aggressive at first.

It wasn’t long though before all three youngsters were lined up together and getting more of an equal share of the fish.

Perch isn’t the only fish species that 33 has caught in the past few days. Yesterday evening John Wright was at the nest when 33 returned with a large trout. John got a great video of 33 struggling with the fish on the t perch close to the nest. This video demonstrates how superbly well-adapted Ospreys are to holding on to their fish – it is amazing that he didn’t drop it immediately!

The weather has improved this evening and there is a better forecast for tomorrow. Let’s hope Maya and her family have an easier day…

A sunny end to the day

A sunny end to the day

The fact there is so much fish on the nest means that the smallest chick always get a feed

Fighting fit

If you have been watching the webcam today, you’ll know that 33 has continued to prove his fishing prowess. Quite a bit of last night’s roach was left over on the nest this morning and 33 then delivered another huge roach that lasted most of the day. This ensured that all three chicks have had a good feed.

The two largest chicks are always first to be fed

The two largest chicks are always first to be fed

The two larger youngsters are always first to be fed, but the size of fish provided by 33 ensures that, once they have had their fill, there is still plenty left over for the smallest chick – who we know some of you have been worried about.

The fact there is so much fish on the nest means that the smallest chick always get a feed

The fact there is so much fish on the nest means that the smallest chick always gets a feed

As they get older Osprey chicks often become aggressive towards each other, and we saw the first signs of that today from the eldest and largest of the youngsters.

This kind of aggression is quite common among Osprey chicks and shouldn’t be a problem as long as 33 continues to provide enough fish. At nests where there isn’t enough food to go around, these kind of bullying tactics ensure that the largest chicks get most of the food and that smaller, submissive chicks suffer. Fortunately 33 is such a good provider that even the smallest chick should gain weight and be able to stand up for itself!

The oldest chick is already showing signs of being a bully!

The oldest chick is already showing signs of being a bully!

Chicks looking the wrong way

It’s behind you!

We couldn’t believe how much the chicks had grown when we turned on the camera this morning! They looked huge, in comparison to yesterday. To prove the reason why they look so good, 33 brought in another great big roach at about 08:30! Maya took it from him and looked set to feed the chicks, however, they all seemed more interested in 33, and were looking at him instead! She looked slightly confused, wondering why there were no mouths to feed! Eventually, they realised which parent had the fish and was going to feed them, and they slowly shuffled round to face Maya, who happily filled their cute little faces with fish.

Chicks looking the wrong way

Chicks looking the wrong way

Chick feed

Chicks feeding

 

When Maya and the chicks had finished, 33 came back for the remains of the roach. He brought it back a little while later, though, and gave it back to Maya. They are very good at sharing!

33 brings the fish back

33 brings the fish back

Maya feeds the chicks

Maya feeds the chicks

 

As Maya happily fed the chicks, 33 flew off to catch another one!

Maya in high definition

Maya in high definition

 

It’s lovely watching the contented domestic life of the Ospreys. 33 is proving to be a superb partner to Maya and father to the chicks. He often sits on the nest with them, and keeps looking at the chicks, making sure they’re definitely there!

Happy families

Happy families

 

If you would like to learn more about the Ospreys and the Lyndon Nature Reserve, why not join Project Leader and Osprey Expert Tim Mackrill, on a evening guided walk on Wednesday 3rd June! The walk begins at 5:30pm and finishes at 8pm – a lovely time of day to be out. It’s sure to be a fabulous experience, but places are limited, so click here to book now and secure your place!

The Osprey Cruises are also selling out fast! The 6th and 13th June are completely sold out, so the next cruise with available places is on Saturday 20th June – click here to book your place! 

33, Maya and chicks

33, Maya and chicks