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Evening sun

Peaceful easy feeling

It has been a quiet, peaceful day in the bay. The sun has been out, and the chicks have lazed around, stretching their wings and sleeping! There have been several sightings of water voles from Waderscrape hide today, and yesterday evening there were three otters in the channels, right in front of the hide!

On the nest this morning at 08:00, Maya was feeding the chicks the tail end of a fish, and there was another large fish in the nest, untouched! 33 had clearly been busy, and did the bulk of his fishing early on. He was happily sitting on the T-perch, taking it easy for a while.

This morning

This morning

 

Maya has been moving sticks around again today, and you can see in the photo above she has added a bit of colour to the nest with a little bit of greenery on the right hand side!

As no-one was eating the trout that lay on the left of the nest, 33 came along and took it to the T-perch, where he proceeded to eat a well-deserved meal. Later on he brought it back to the nest, and Maya fed the chicks. They really are very good at sharing!

33 brings the trout back

33 brings the trout back

 

The chicks have done some more wing flapping today, and even tried walking around the nest whilst doing so!

Chick flapping

Chick flapping

 

They are still very ungainly and unsteady on their feet, but they’ve been standing up and moving around a lot more, and will of course improve with practise and age! Something they are superb at doing is standing up just long enough to slowly reverse up to the edge of the nest, lean forward and shoot out a nice stream of liquefied fish into the water below!

Chick standing up

Chick standing up

Poo stream

Poo stream

 

Osprey Cruises have been incredibly successful so far this season! 28 has shown his face a few times, as has 33. As I mentioned yesterday, 33 was out fishing on our last Osprey Cruise, on Saturday 20th June. Mark Wright took this great photo of him as he flew by the Rutland Belle. Many thanks to Mark for letting us share it! The next cruise with availability is on 4th July, but spaces go quickly, so book now! 

33 on Saturday's Osprey Cruise, photo by Mark Wright

33 on Saturday’s Osprey Cruise, photo by Mark Wright

 

Also, don’t forget it’s Wild Rutland Day this Saturday – 27th June! Sure to be a day full of fun! Check it out by clicking here.

Evening sun

Evening sun

 

 

33 lands with the roach

Weather with you

The morning began much like yesterday. It was a bit like deja vu, actually – 33 brought in a large trout again, at almost exactly the same time, which he flew to the T-perch with and ate the head.

33 with huge trout

33 with huge trout

 

When he had finished, he flew off the T-perch, past the nest, then made an about-turn and headed back to the nest into the wind. He dutifully delivered his catch to Maya, who proceeded to feed the chicks.

Feeding the chicks

Feeding the chicks

All lined up

All lined up

 

Later in the morning, at about 10:30, an intruding Osprey was seen flying over the bay. Maya began mantling on the nest as soon as she spotted it. 33 flew in and joined her, and they protected their nest together. The intruder took the hint and flew off, so 33 took the opportunity to fly off the nest with the tail end of the morning’s fish. He ate some of it on the T-perch, then brought back to the nest later.

Mantling at an intruder

Mantling at an intruder

 

The weather has been somewhat unsettled today, and we have had several sunny spells, but also a few rain showers, not to mention a fair bit of wind! During one quite sharp shower, 33 sat hunched on the T-perch, and Maya did her best to cover the chicks and keep them dry.

33 in the rain

33 in the rain

Maya covering the chicks in the rain

Maya covering the chicks in the rain

 

The chicks have once again been wobbling round the nest on their over-sized feet, and stretching out their wings. Here is one of the chicks having a go at flapping those long, ungainly wings!

Trying out those wings

Trying out those wings

 

In the picture above, and the one below, you can see the bluish tinge of the wing feathers coming through. These growing feathers are covered in a waxy keratin sheath, or “pin”, which protects the feather as it develops. This protective covering will gradually peel off as the feather within it becomes mature, and will eventually be removed by the Ospreys as they preen themselves. Feathers at this stage are often referred to as pin feathers, but are also known as blood feathers, due to the blood supply that nourishes the growing feather inside the pin. As the feather nears the end of its development, the blood supply recedes and the protective sheath can be removed by the owner of the feather!

Feather pins in the wing

Feather pins in the wing

 

During the afternoon, the sun came out again, and 33 joined his mate and chicks on the nest for a bit of relaxation.

Together in the sun

Together in the sun

All together now

All together now

 

Maya left him on his own with the chicks for a bit, whilst she went and had a wing-stretch.

33 with the chicks

33 with the chicks

 

When she returned to the nest, Maya began to food beg – asking 33 to go fishing again. Like the star he is, he granted her wish in the shape of a very large roach!

33 lands with the roach

33 lands with the roach

33 brings a roach in

33 brings a roach in

 

Maya gratefully took the fish and fed the chicks, and 33 flew off to the T-perch, job done!

33 flying off the nest

33 flying off the nest

33 flying away

33 flying away

Feeding the roach to the chicks

Feeding the roach to the chicks

 

We had another very successful Osprey Cruise on Saturday! 33 came out to play and flew by the Rutland Belle a few times, looking for fish. Cruises are a superb way of seeing Ospreys flying and fishing on Rutland Water, and 33 could well be one of the Ospreys we see! He has certainly been doing a good job of keeping his family fed – just look at how healthy those chicks are!

What a beauty

What a beauty

 

The next cruise with availability is on Saturday 4th July, but places are selling out fast and there are only 11 spaces left on it! Click here to book now and avoid disappointment.

Alternatively, have a look at our other cruise dates by clicking here.

Rutland Belle

Rutland Belle

 

 

 

Feather comparison - youngest on left

Birds of a feather

33 brought in a big trout at about 08:45 this morning, and ate it for over an hour before bringing it to the nest. The chicks looked full already, and Maya wasn’t food begging – she was dozing! This led me to believe 33 must have brought another fish in earlier, so was now treating himself to a well-earned fish head!

33 with trout

33 with trout

 

After he’d eaten the head of the fish, he brought it to the nest. In the video below you can see him coming in the distance as he flies towards the nest – he’ll always fly into the wind, which is great for us when it’s blowing from the west, as it means we can see him coming straight for the nest on the wide-angle camera!

Fish delivery

Fish delivery

Feeding the chicks

Feeding the chicks

 

In the above video, you can also see that one of the chicks tries to have a crafty nibble at the fish! The chicks will start to eat on their own in the next few weeks, without Maya having to rip bits off for them. After trying to bite the slippery sides of the fish and getting nowhere, as we have seen them do already, they eventually learn that the best way to get into the fish is through the gills. Unless Dad has eaten the head, of course, then they’re straight in, no messing!

I know we keep saying this, but it’s true – the chicks are HUGE! Now they’re four weeks old, and you can really see their feathers popping through the down, each feather looking like it’s been dipped in honey. This helps to keep the chicks camouflaged on the nest. Maya and 33 are very good at bringing in nest material to match the chicks’ colouring! Speaking of which, here is a video of 33 bringing in some nest lining today.

33 with nest material

33 with nest material

 

Maya has been busy moving sticks about today, too!

Maya with stick

Maya with stick

Maya moving a stick

Maya moving a stick

 

Late this morning, while the chicks were still sleeping off their most recent helping of trout, Maya took a minute to herself to have a fly around, wash her feet in the water and have a nice, refreshing bath! Here she is on the T-perch, drying off, before she flies back to her youngsters on the nest.

Maya and the chicks

Maya back with the chicks

 

The third chick is catching up with the other two in terms of size, but we can still tell which one is the youngest due to the fact that he/she has much more down and less feathers! Here you can see the youngest chick lying in-between the others.

Littlest in the middle

Littlest in the middle

 

And if we zoom in… we can get some really close up shots of the chicks, with their new feathers in fine definition!

Feathers close up

Feathers close up

Feather comparison - youngest on left

Feather comparison – youngest on left

Bottoms!

Bottoms!

 

And here’s a nice one of the Manton Bay Ospreys all together on the nest this evening.

Snoozing on the nest together

Snoozing on the nest together

 

Maya feeding the chicks roach for breakfast

Fish of the day

It’s been a grey, damp day at Lyndon today, but the Manton Bay chicks continue to thrive. When you look at the fish 33 has brought in recently then it’s easy to understand why his youngsters are in such good condition. Here is a video of 33 delivering a tench to his family on Thursday evening. He caught the fish on lagoon 1 and, if you watch carefully, you can see him arriving from some distance away on the wide-angle view. Once he landed on the nest, the fish almost got away…

Yesterday roach replaced tench as fish of the day and 33 delivered this fine fish to the nest shortly after 8am. Roach rarely get much larger in Rutland Water than this particular fish, so any angler would have been proud! You’ll see that one of the youngsters was initially more interested in wing-flapping then eating; but it did eventually join the other two for breakfast.

Maya feeding the chicks roach for breakfast

Maya feeding the chicks roach for breakfast

Today the youngsters have had to wait much longer. After one early morning fish, 33 didn’t bring another in until just before 5pm. In the intervening period Maya spent much of her time on the French perch above the nest, keeping a watchful eye on her chicks below. Here’s a nice video of the chicks watching her as she flies on to the nest.

The three youngsters watching Maya fly to the nest

The three youngsters watching Maya fly to the nest

While the chicks waited on the nest, 33 made several unsuccessful fishing forays. He also saw off 30(10) – one of the males who caused so much disturbance at Site B earlier in the year.

When 33 did eventually return to the nest with a fish, it was another different species: a pike.

You can see the distinctive head shape of the pike in this photo

You can see the distinctive head shape of the pike in this photo

Having finished the fish, the family settled down on the nest; a peaceful scene to end the day.

Stormy skies

The chicks are starting to stretch their wings

Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon

It’s been another bautiful summer day at Rutland Water; and a quiet day at the Manton Bay nest. I was at the centre early this morning to lead a guided walk in aid of the Martin Lawrence Memorial Trust. As the photo below shows, the view of the nest is always spectacular at this time of day.

Early morning at the Manton Bay nest

Early morning at the Manton Bay nest

By the time we reached Waderscrape hide, 33 had already delivered a trout to the nest and the chicks were tucking into breakfast. With so much food it is little wonder that they have grown so quickly. The three youngsters are looking more and more like ‘proper’ Ospreys every day; and are even starting to flap their wings, albeit rather weakly!

The chicks are starting to stretch their wings

The chicks are starting to stretch their wings

By lunchtime the nest was bathed in glorious summer sunshine, and the youngsters spent much of the afternoon lazing in the nest. 33 brought two more fish, ensuring that all three chicks had several more good feeds.

As is usually the case, there was no squabbling between the chicks while they were fed. How’s this for an orderly line-up…

Peace was temporarily broken when an intruding Osprey appeared overhead. 33 immediately flew to the nest and mantled over the chicks; but the intruding bird didn’t linger for long. The rest of the afternoon passed by very peacefully – just the way we like it!

33 and Maya mantling on the nest as the intruder passes overhead

33 and Maya mantling on the nest as the intruder passes overhead

The chicks enjoyed some glorious sunshine this afternoon

The chicks enjoyed some glorious sunshine this afternoon