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An eventful month

An eventful month

July is a busy month, packed full of things to do at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve! Here is a reminder of the events we have coming up next month.

Naturally the coming weeks are full of our very popular osprey and wildlife cruises on the Rutland Belle. From early July we begin running cruises on Wednesdays as well as Saturdays, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us on the reservoir. We do both afternoon cruises and dawn ones that take advantage of the early morning peace and quiet. The dawn cruises also include breakfast! There are seven dates in July that have availability – click here to see them all.

Rutland Belle5R(04)

On Saturday 16th July, from 5-8pm, photography expert and tutor Pete Murray is leading a photography walk at the Lyndon Reserve. Join him for this great opportunity to make the most of the long summer evenings and the beautiful wild flower meadows. After a brief introduction in the Lyndon Visitors centre, the guided walk will take you through the wildflower meadows, and the woodland areas bordering the shoreline, including one or more of the hides. Click here for more information.

COMMON-BLUE-DAMSEL-FLY

At the end of the month, on Saturday 30th July, Volunteer Coordinator and butterfly enthusiast Sarah Proud is leading a guided butterfly walk at the Lyndon Reserve. The walk will be a great start for beginners who want to be able to identify the different species of butterfly we get in the U.K., while learning more about their behaviour and habitat. The walk will last two hours, from 10 til 12. Click here for more information.

Common Blue, photo by Sarah Proud

Common Blue, photo by Sarah Proud

 

 

Give me a ring

Give me a ring

Over the past few days we have been lucky to host a special guest at Rutland Water from all the way across the Atlantic – Alan Poole, world-renowned osprey expert and author of “Ospreys: A Natural and Unnatural History” has spent some time with the team at the Osprey Project! Whilst here, in addition to learning about the project and seeing some ospreys in England, he gave an interesting talk to our enthusiastic team of osprey volunteers. This talk included details of the decline and subsequent recovery of the osprey populations in Eastern North America that he researched for his book.

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Alan Poole with young osprey (TM)

 

Fortunately, Alan’s visit coincided with ringing time. Chicks were ringed at two nests last week, one of which was Manton Bay. You will surely have noticed that the three handsome juveniles are now adorned with their bright blue leg rings. They were fitted with these early on Friday morning by the team. The ring numbers are T6, T7 (both female) and T8 (male).

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T8 and T6 (JW)

T8 and T7 rings

T8 and T7 rings

 

All three chicks are very healthy and in excellent condition. They are now six weeks old and will be ready to fledge in about a week to ten days! In preparation for this they will begin flapping their wings a lot to strengthen them, they have already been seen attempting to do this. You can see the chicks flapping and much more in Dave Cole’s latest excellent video, see below!

Flapping

T7 flapping

 

 

 

Dive!

Osprey, camera, action!

Over the past few weeks, we have seen so much action from the ospreys in Manton Bay. The chicks have grown from tiny hatchlings to handsome five-week-old juveniles, fed on a diet of fish from 33, who has frequently caught fish in the bay itself, right in front of the hides! We get to see a lot of these occurrences on the live camera, such as 33 delivering fish, Maya feeding the chicks, and each step of their rapid development. However, there are some things that can only be experienced by visiting the nature reserve itself – Waderscrape and Shallow Water hides overlook the osprey nest and can be accessed from the Lyndon Reserve. The following photographs by Field Officer John Wright demonstrate some of the exciting things that have been happening in Manton Bay recently!

Female drinking

Female drinking

Female drinking

Female drinking

Female washing feet

Female washing feet

33 diving

33 diving

Male 33 hitting water

Male 33 hitting water

33 with Tench

33 with Tench

Male 33 bringing a Tench

Male 33 bringing a Tench

Male 33 bringing Tench

Male 33 bringing Tench

33 diving

33 diving

33

33

33 with Pike

33 with Pike

33 bringing Pike

33 bringing Pike

Manton Bay

Manton Bay

Nest

Nest

Manton Bay from Shallow Water hide

Manton Bay from Shallow Water hide

Cloudy skies

Cloudy skies

Mallard chasing 33

Mallard chasing 33

Mallard chasing 33

Mallard chasing 33

Manton Bay pair

Manton Bay pair

Feeding chicks

Feeding chicks

Female bringing stick

Female bringing stick

Dive!

Dive!

33 bringing Pike

33 bringing Pike

33 with Pike

33 with Pike

Female

Female

Trout

Trout

Full nest

Full nest

Big chicks

Big chicks

Chick flapping

Chick flapping

Sleeping adults

Sleeping adults

33(11)

33(11)

Atmospheric distance shot

Atmospheric distance shot

Common terns

Common terns

Common terns

Common terns

 

 

 

Don't stop the music

Don’t stop the music

The chicks are now almost five weeks old, and don’t they look it! They are now almost fully feathered, although you can still see some of the keratin sheaths on the new feathers on their wings. They are stretching and flapping their wings a lot more now, and can walk around the nest a bit better too. Today, one of the chicks had a go at standing up, then decided it was too much trouble and lay down again, after first nibbling its sibling!

Chick looking

As the chicks mature and become more interested in their surroundings, they also show more interest in the fish left in the nest, as the instinct to eat kicks in. Instead of waiting for Maya to feed them, they have begun to pick at the remains of fish on their own! Soon, she won’t need to feed them at all. The instinct to do so is still in her though, so she will if the chicks sit and look at her. However, soon they may not be quite so patient, and will start taking fish as it is brought in.

Chick eating

Needless to say, 33 is still providing plentiful fish for his youngsters, and of course he’s still delivering offerings of sticks and plonking them on the backs of the chicks!

When you look at the size of these chicks and think about their rapid development, the rest of the season seems such a short period of time. In just over two weeks they will be flying, and after that it won’t be long before they migrate! Before the end of the season, though, we have a special event to celebrate the migration of our ospreys. Local choir Global Harmony are putting on a charity concert in aid of the Rutland Osprey Project, where they will be performing songs representative of the countries through which ospreys fly on their migration! This event will take place on Friday 1st July at Brooke Priory School, beginning at 7:30pm. Tickets are just £8. There are only a limited number, so book yours now! Call 01572 737378 for more details.

Global Harmony 

In addition to the cuckoo of recent days, another brilliant species has been spotted at Waderscrape – barn owls! They appear to be breeding in the owl box near the hide, and have been seen hunting close by and taking food into the box. The photos below were taken by volunteer Jeff Davies, thank you Jeff for allowing us to share these.

Barn owl Barn owl2 Barn owl3

 

 

 

 

Summer rain

Summer rain

What an incredibly wet day! The poor ospreys have been huddled up against the rain for most of the day, with Maya doing her absolute best to keep the chicks dry. Now that they are four weeks old they are big, strong, healthy and almost fully feathered, therefore it will not hurt them to be in the rain for a day. They are able to stay warm themselves, aided by all of the fish 33 is bringing in!

Covering the chicks (1)Wet chicks

Wet chicks feedingFeeding

We know that from Waderscrape hide you are treated to a wide array of wildlife; ospreys, water voles, sedge warblers, reed buntings, kestrels, buzzards, barn owls, and once or twice a peregrine and some otters! The list goes on, and now there is another species to add to it! Over the past few days a cuckoo has been spending some time flitting between the bushes and reeds in front of the hide! Volunteers and visitors alike have been enchanted by this lovely bird, and Jan Warren took these excellent photographs. Thanks Jan for letting us share these.

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