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By Tim on April 30, 2016
One of the key aims of the Osprey Flyways Project is to raise awareness of the need to protect migratory birds at all times of the year. We were thrilled, therefore, to hear from Junkung Jadama this week about how children from Tanji Lower Basic School in The Gambia have been helping out. JJ writes:
“As the Osprey Flyways Project is concerned about environmental education the students of Tanji Lower Basic School and Osprey club members take this step to clean Tanji beach because people throw litter all over the beach that is important for migrating birds. If you look at the video you will find out that there are lots of old fishing nets on the beach which can be dangerous for the birds.”
JJ also sent us these photos of the students’ hard at work. It is amazing to see how many nets they managed to clear from the beach. Many birds – Ospreys included – can easily become tangled in these nets and so the students’ efforts are incredibly important. Well done to all of them.
Tanji Lower Basic School were one of four schools who got involved in a fantastic Skype link up during World Osprey Week. Xarles Cepeda from the Urdaibai Bird Center has sent us this brilliant video of the Skype call. We’re sure you’ll agree that all of the children did fantastically well.
If you would like to support our work in Africa through the Osprey Flyways Project, you can do so by sponsoring Kayleigh for her skydive – which is now just under two weeks away! We would also like to thank IEPUK for their ongoing support of the Osprey Flyways Project, and particularly Director George Peach who is undertaking yet another challenge on our behalf next week – the Rat Race at Burghley. Good luck and thank you, George!
By Kayleigh Brookes on April 27, 2016
Ospreys who breed in the UK often have a lot to put up with in terms of bad weather. There was the year that snow was still thick on the ground when the ospreys returned, then there was the period of heavy rain in June last year, soaking poor Maya as she covered the chicks to keep them dry. Ospreys are incredibly resilient birds, and can easily cope with the inclement conditions England sometimes throws at them. They don’t always look happy about it though! I couldn’t possibly have a few days off without first sharing this lovely video that Paul recorded yesterday, showing Maya huddled up on the eggs in a hail shower! (The title of this blog is also courtesy of Paul Stammers!)
By Kayleigh Brookes on April 26, 2016
For a long time, the nest in Manton Bay has been the only osprey nest in use on the Rutland Water Nature Reserve. This year, that might be about to change. There are and always have been several other platforms around the reserve, put in place to attract ospreys and encourage them to stay and breed. Up to now, all except Manton Bay have remained devoid of ospreys. For the past couple of years, however, a male osprey who was born in Rutland in 2011 – 51(11) – has been holding territory on the nest platform on lagoon four, the northernmost lagoon on the Egleton side of the nature reserve. We have waited and hoped that a female will come along and join him, and so, we imagine, has he!
This year, his wishes may be granted. A young Rutland female, three-year-old 3J(13), returned to the area earlier this month, after first paying a visit to the Glaslyn nest in North Wales. She found 51 on the nest on lagoon four, and it looks like she might stay and breed with him! This is great news, as it means we could potentially have eight successful pairs this season, and a second nest on the nature reserve!
3J returned to the UK for the first time last year, and spent a bit of time at Ferry Meadows Country Park in Peterborough. She then paid a visit to Wales, before returning to Rutland. This is the sort of behaviour we would expect from a two-year-old returning for the first time. This year she has visited Wales twice, but returned within a day or two and she now seems quite settled on the nest with 51.
Before 3J returned, female 5N spent some time on the lagoon four nest. 5N is a breeding female – the most productive Rutland-born female, in fact – and she was simply hanging around waiting for her usual partner to return. When he did, she disappeared off to her nest site with him, leaving 51 alone again. Another female, an unringed bird, was also seen around the lagoon four nest recently. It is possible this was a bird flying though on the way north, or perhaps she is a youngster looking for her own nest. 51 is in demand!
Thank you very much to John Wright for the following photographs showing the sequence of events on lagoon four this year.
Thank you also to Dave Cole for this fabulous video, documenting some of what has been happening on the nest on lagoon four recently.
By Kayleigh Brookes on April 24, 2016
The ospreys in Manton Bay continue to go through life at a steady pace. 33 is catching plenty of fish, and both birds have been bringing in little bits of nest material and sticks, to ensure the nest is looking its best and is comfortable for when the chicks arrive! Hatching is now only just over two weeks away! In the blink of an eye the incubation period has flown by, and the birds have already undergone three weeks of it. They’re doing a brilliant job of incubating, one or the other of them is constantly on the eggs, and sometimes both of them are!
Here is the tail end of a fish delivery yesterday!
Thanks to work experience student, James, we now know what proportions of fish species 33 has been bringing in recently. James analysed the first month’s worth of monitoring forms, and created this lovely pie chart showing the species of fish 33 has caught. The most numerous is trout, of course, as that’s the species Anglian Water fill the reservoir with each year.
Today there was a bit of excitement when an intruding osprey flew over the bay. 33 had come to sit by Maya and was mantling slightly, looking skywards. After a while, Maya became unsettled too and rose to her feet, mantling alongside 33 as they both looked up. We then saw the silhouette of an osprey fly over the nest on the wide angle camera, heading east. As soon as it was a safe distance away, Maya settled back onto the eggs and normal business resumed.
Later on, there was another intrusion from an osprey that came much closer to the nest than the previous one! 33 had left the bay, and from the visitor centre an osprey was spotted flying back towards Manton Bay, at the same time as Maya was looking rather concerned on the nest. Then 33 flew in, and almost immediately another osprey swooped past the nest. The tail of the intruder can be seen in this video below.
The pair defended the nest admirably, and it wasn’t long before the intruder disappeared, leaving Maya and 33 in peace.
In other news, spring is in full swing in Gibbet’s Gorse on the Lyndon Nature Reserve, just look at these photographs of the bluebells that are carpeting the floor in the woodland! Thanks to Paul Stammers for these amazing shots.
By Kayleigh Brookes on April 22, 2016
Yesterday, I mentioned how much 33 makes us laugh because he is constantly wanting to incubate, and that he has sometimes been seen trying to push and shove Maya to get her to move off the eggs so that he can have a go. Well today we managed to get a recording of him doing it! He had brought in a stick and moved it about, then hung around, standing close to Maya and looking at her occasionally. After a while he clearly grew impatient, turned towards Maya and pulled at her wing with his beak! He did this several times until she got fed up, got off the eggs and flew off, allowing 33 to sit on them!