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Taking turns

Taking turns

What a beautiful few days it has been! The ospreys have drifted lazily through each day, sitting resolutely on their eggs, eating fish and collecting a stick here and there. They are incredibly nest proud, as we know, and take their time to ensure each stick is placed just so. The soft hay they have been bringing in has helped make the middle of the nest very comfortable and cozy, too.

They are very good at swapping over and sharing out the tedious task of incubating. Though it can’t be a bad job when the sun is out and you have a lovely view as they do!

Sunshine

33 makes us laugh with his eagerness to incubate. He has been known to physically push Maya to get her off the eggs, and even to sit on her back! Yesterday he brought in a stick, then just stood on the nest, waiting. Maya was food begging, but he took no notice, and in the second video below he sticks to his guns and hangs around long enough to get what he wanted!

There have not been many intrusions around the nest site recently, as most of the ospreys we would expect to have returned are back and settling down to breed, but today something upset the Manton Bay pair, as you can see below. It turned out to be another osprey flying over the nest. It could have been any one of the several non-breeding birds we know are around. The intruder was soon seen off, and the eggs were immediately incubated again.

Peace restored

Peace restored

 

 

Blooming lovely

Blooming lovely

The weather today has been absolutely glorious! Tomorrow looks set to follow in the same vein, too, which is brilliant! The reserve really is coming to life now, with primroses, lesser celandine, bluebells and ground-ivy flowering by the visitor centre, the wonderfully pungent scent of wild garlic emanating from the rows of ramsons by the track outside the centre, and the emergence of blooms on the blackthorn and hawthorn in the hedgerows on the reserve trails. I love this time of year, when all the wild flowers are making an appearance, it’s beautiful and enthralling.

User commentsUser comments

33 caught three rather small fish today, the first two of which were too small to share, and he did not bring them to the nest. He didn’t neglect Maya, though – he brought the third fish straight to her without eating any of it, and happily took over incubation duties.

33 enjoying incubating

Around mid-morning, Maya’s incubation stint was interrupted by a pair of Egyptian geese who flew too close to the nest for her liking. She rose from the eggs and shouted at them as they passed by! She watched them disappear, and decided that was enough and she didn’t need to chase them further. The ospreys really do not like the geese, and have been chasing them away each time they land in the bay.

As well as all the fish, 33 has brought some more sticks to the nest today. Here he is bringing in a nice big one and trying to position it. Maya took this as an invitation to swap over, and left 33 on the nest to incubate. He, of course, didn’t mind in the slightest!

33 with stick

33 landing with the stick

Stick

33 moving the stick

 

 

Second verse, same as the first

Second verse, same as the first

Now that the ospreys are sitting on eggs, each day seems a lot like the one before. This is to be expected, of course, and is exactly what we want. A nice, peaceful incubation period helps to ensure a healthy brood! Maya and 33 regularly swap incubation duties, each change-over usually only taking around a minute. The bird incubating gets up frequently to turn the eggs, making sure the warmth is evenly distributed. The bird not incubating tends to relax on a nearby perch, but will sometimes sit on the nest, particularly 33 who always wants to be there!

TogetherTop and tailing

33 continues to bring in at least one fish per day for himself and Maya, depending on the size of the fish. He likes to go fishing early in the morning, around 7-8am, leaving him free to incubate as much as he likes throughout the day! He will always, at this stage, eat the head of the fish himself, bringing the rest to Maya.

Here are a few videos of the ospreys taking good care of those precious eggs. They always make sure they tread gently around them, and no longer leave them uncovered for any length of time. I love the shuffle they do when they’re settling onto the eggs!

We hope the rest of the incubation period goes just as quietly and smoothly!

33

 

 

All for a good cause

All for a good cause

IEPUK director George Peach is off on another challenging exercise in order to raise money for two worthy charities. This time it’s the Rat Race – 20 miles and over 200 obstacles – read George’s story to find out more.

With the bruises and aches from the 14 mile course titled “The Suffering” fading away and just the memory of enjoyment remaining in little over 3 weeks (from date or writing) it will be 7 May and time to take part in The Rat Race. This is a huge 20+ mile course including over 200 obstacles.

I will be taking part with over 7000 others who, for this race, are known as “muckers” or to give the full title “filthy muckers”. The race is broken down in to over 20 “waves” each starting 15 minutes apart. I’m in wave 6 which will be starting at 9:15, registration opens the afternoon before so I’ll be able to arrive around 8, find where I need to be for the start, grab a mug of tea and something to eat then, find somewhere to keep a dry bang with a towel and change of clothes before finally handing over my phone and car keys (for safe keeping).

Here are a couple of the obstacles that they have announced for this year…

For starters, one that does not seem too bad, this is called The Pendulum:

 the-pendulum
This one is High Net Worth and they say appears after 19.5 miles so is one of the last:
high-net-worth
This next one, called simply The Pit, is one I’m really not looking forward to. I’m not sure at what distance it appears but it looks dreadful!
the-pit
This is just an example of 3 of the 200+ obstacles I’ll be facing! Lets also not forget that they have monkey bars… they claim “the worlds longest monkey bars”… these are just over a mile long (1.6km)!

I’m taking part in this one for two charities, one is The Rutland Osprey Project and their work to promote better education in The Gambia and the other is Children with Cancer UK.

All and any donations are gratefully received and any messages of support on our Facebook page would be fantastic to read!!

Sunshine on my shoulders

Sunshine on my shoulders

It has been such a glorious spring day! Out of the wind the temperature increased significantly, with the heat of the April sun packing a punch. The Lyndon Centre and Reserve was visited by over 200 people today, making the most of the weather and the guaranteed views of ospreys you can get from Waderscrape hide!

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33 with a stick (JW)

Lovely sunny day

Lovely sunny day

 

It’s not only ospreys that can be seen from Waderscrape, either – the scrape and channels in front of the hide are home to several water voles! Water voles are notoriously elusive, but, with a bit of luck and patience, can be seen from Waderscrape hide fairly often. These photographs were taken by volunteer Mick Spencer on his osprey monitoring shift last week.

Water vole, Mick Spencer Water vole 2, Mick Spencer

The Manton Bay pair are settling well into their incubation routine. They look very relaxed and at ease, and seemed to enjoy soaking up the sun today! During the morning, 33 brought in a huge fish which he caught from the nature reserve. As usual, he ate his share first then delivered the rest to Maya. As we’ve come to expect, 33 did more incubation than just his required stint while Maya eats. He was the one incubating for most of the morning, and the pair swapped incubation duties regularly, whether there was fish or not!

33

33

Maya

Maya

 

Incubation lasts around five and a half weeks, which seems like an awfully long time to wait! However, time flies, and it’s already been two weeks since the first egg was laid. This means there is only another three and a half weeks before we would expect the first hatching to happen!

We are really looking forward to the day the first chick hatches, and we’re also looking forward to the end of May, when osprey cruises begin! We love these cruises, run in partnership with the wonderful Rutland Belle, and last year was the best ever year for sightings and witnessing ospreys fishing. As well as getting brilliant views of ospreys and other wildlife, the cruises are a great way to see the reservoir from a different perspective. Our first osprey cruise of 2016 takes place on Saturday 28th May, beginning at 4:30pm. Last season, the first cruise was one of the best! Click here for more details on that!

Click here for more information about our first osprey cruise of 2016.

Rutland BelleNormanton Church (PS)

28 in flight, showing his upturned right wing (JW)

We get some superb close-up views of ospreys on cruises (JW)