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A slippery character

A slippery character

Yesterday at Rutland, at around half 7 in the morning, one of our volunteers walking on the reserve noticed 33 flying over the reservoir with an enormous trout – struggling with it’s huge mass, 33 was flying in a laboured fashion back towards Manton Bay. The volunteers monitoring the nest at Waderscrape also witnessed this huge fish as 33 eventually came in to land at the perch next to the nest. Unfortunately for us (and even more so for Maya!), we never saw it on the webcam as it was so gigantic and cumbersome that 33 dropped it before he could take it to the nest! Maya did not seem too impressed, and everytime 33 tried to take over incubating in the morning she stayed put, no matter how many sticks he bought in – Maya wanted a fish!
Luckily 33 didn’t take too long to get the hint, and at around half 3 in the afternoon he bought in a beautiful silver roach, which Maya gratefully recieved.

33 has been busy brining in some lovely big sticks to the nest too, although one large pronged stick caused both him and Maya some bother on Friday – being such an awkward shape, they just could not find a place for it to lay!


Whilst Maya and 33 are of course the stars of our show, we’ve also been seeing some other wildlife floating and flying in the background on the webcam – can you spot the other 2 species we get very fleeting views of in this video?

Finally, here are our lovely pair relaxing on the nest yesterday morning.
snoozing

Weather it rains

Weather it rains

Over the past few days we have experienced a wide range of different weather conditions at the Lyndon Nature Reserve and in Manton Bay. It has been very changeable, from beautifully hot and sunny on Sunday, to freezing on Tuesday, and today has been raining. This morning at 5am there was frost on the nest! Here is 33 sitting tight.

Frosty

We encountered almost every kind of weather on Tuesday – rain, sleet, snow, sun, wind! The wide angle camera is great for seeing the weather down the south arm of the reservoir. The two photos below were taken within half an hour of each other – a few minutes after the first one was captured, we had a snow blizzard at the centre!

Dramatic skies Blue skies

Wednesday was very cold and extremely windy, so much so that there were waves on the water. It was lovely in the sun though, which was shining for most of the day. Except when we had hail showers, of which there were two during Wednesday afternoon – here is a video of poor Maya incubating in a hailstorm. It doesn’t seem to bother her unduly, and she sits tight on those eggs.

Whilst constantly changing weather conditions doesn’t help when choosing how many layers to wear (not a problem the ospreys have, of course), it does make life interesting! I do enjoy the weather, and seeing how frequently and rapidly it can change. Ospreys are hardy birds, and can cope with all sorts of weather conditions, whether dry & hot in Senegal or wet & windy here at Rutland Water.

Dark!

Here are a couple of stick videos from today – this long stick caused problems when 33 tried to move it, as you can see from the second video!

33 with stick

Here is a video of 33 bringing a small fish to Maya yesterday evening. It was only a tiny fish, so he brought the entire thing straight to Maya on the nest. It must have been a very fresh catch, as it wasn’t quite dead!

33 small fish Maya small fish

As we know from previous years, 33 loves to incubate the eggs, and just be on the nest. He often used to sit down next to Maya as she incubated, as though he were incubating with her. He has already done this once this season, and here he is doing it again today!

Sitting together

In other news, the water voles have been very active in the scrape and channels in front of Waderscrape hide recently! The re-introduction that took place in 2011 was very successful, and results show that there is a healthy population of water voles on the nature reserve as a whole. Water voles are generally an elusive species and hard to see, but visitors to Waderscrape hide on the Lyndon reserve have been getting excellent views recently, on a daily basis!

These photographs from Chris Wood prove how visible the water voles are.

IMG_8796 IMG_8798 IMG_8799 IMG_8803

Click here to read all about the water vole project at Rutland Water!

 

 

Stamford Junior School at Lyndon

Osprey Experts!

As the Manton Bay ospreys incubate four eggs, the “education team” have been very busy during the last week visiting schools and meeting other groups of children in the Rutland area.

The education team spent Saturday morning giving an osprey talk and then doing a variety of osprey activities at Stamford Junior School. In the afternoon they visited the Lyndon reserve to see the ospreys and complete birdwatching and food chain tasks using “Osprey Expert” books.

Stamford Junior School at Lyndon

Stamford Junior School at Lyndon

Using "Osprey Expert"

Using “Osprey Expert”

 

Our first Ambassadors Osprey Club was held last Sunday at Lyndon , with the Osprey Ambassadors from six local primary schools taking part. We were treated to excellent views of Maya and 33 as well as two other passing ospreys in addition to some excellent birdwatching.

Osprey Club

Osprey Club

4- WATCHING THE OSPREYS AT OSPREY CLUB 5-OSPREY WATCHING WITH STAMFORD JUNIOR SCHOOL

Langham Junior School invited the education team to their first  “Osprey and Ornithology” club on Wednesday. We will see them at the Lyndon Reserve later this term to complete their “Be an Osprey Expert” books and sign their certificates for finishing all the tasks!

Langham Primary School

Langham Primary School

 

The Stamford Beavers were our final visit this week for an activity session using Osprey Expert. These youngsters also be visiting Lyndon in the summer to see the ospreys .By then  the eggs should have hatched and the young ospreys should be learning to fly!

Stamford Beavers

Stamford Beavers

8- KEN WORKS WITH THE BEAVERS

We have been really pleased to see the knowledge and interest of even the youngest primary school children we have met this week.

“Their scientific name is Pandion haliaetus”   “Ospreys are carnivores and predators”  “Ospreys have reversible toes”

The children’s questions have also been very impressive..

“How many ospreys successfully migrate?”  “How do ospreys get dry after catching fish?”

“How do young ospreys find their way to Africa?”

We look forward to seeing our new “Osprey Experts” again soon!

 

Fisherman's blues

Fisherman’s blues

The wonderful fisherman that is 33 is still doing a magnificent job of keeping himself and Maya well fed. We have already seen a wide array of fish delivered this season, from enormous trout and roach to smaller perch and a bream or two. Sometimes, the fish are so huge we wonder how 33 manages to carry them to the nest! Monday’s was a good example – 33 caught it late morning, and delivered it to the nest at 12:01, which is unusual as 33 generally fishes in the morning or early evening. However, the wind may have played a part in slowing down his progress. The fish in question was a trout, and it was the biggest yet this year! We actually saw him flying past the Lyndon Centre with it, very low to the water – it was so big it would have been difficult for him to gain any height!

33 with huge trout

Huge fish!

This boy will have no problems at all feeding four chicks!

Today’s fish was delivered to the nest at 14:08, and this one still had its head! It looked like a perch, and as it was only small 33 brought it straight to Maya on the nest without eating any first. What a gentleman! Fishing must have been difficult for him today, as the wind was so strong there were waves on the reservoir!

It didn’t take Maya long to finish the perch, and she was back on the nest within half an hour. So 33 didn’t get any of that fish – I wonder if he’ll attempt to fish again later.

Perch

This morning there was another intruder at the Manton Bay nest. 33 wasn’t around at the time, which was between 07:40 & 08:00. Maya was on the nest and defended it admirably. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get an ID on the intruding osprey as the bird didn’t come quite close enough to the nest to be picked up on the high res camera, and the wide angle camera is quite dark in the mornings. We captured these two videos though, and it looks like the bird is bearing leg rings. We think it was probably S6.

Intruder

Maya not happy!

There appeared to be another intruder at 10:35 – 33 was there this time and flew in to mantle beside Maya, who didn’t seem that bothered. This intruder must have been further away and was therefore less of a threat. There was no sign of it on the camera.

The rest of the day passed in relative peace and quiet, with a stick delivery by 33 and a couple of incubation changeovers.

33 bringing stick

Here is a video of Maya and 33 swapping over at night! Maya does do the majority of the incubating during the night, but 33 won’t be left out, and likes to do a bit!

33 incubating

 

 

Coming home

Coming home

Something very exciting happened today – the first two-year-old osprey has returned to Rutland! We found out when she landed on the Manton Bay nest at 13:31 this afternoon. Maya was incubating, and suddenly looked alert. 33 flew into the nest seconds later and both birds looked skywards, as though an intruder was high above them. Then their defensive behaviour intensified and they both mantled furiously. The intruder came closer and closer, then we saw legs dangling in the wide angle camera view! Who could it be?! Then the intruding osprey landed on the nest!

We switched to the close up camera view and could immediately see that the intruder’s blue leg ring read S6. S6 is a female osprey who fledged from an off-site nest in the Rutland area in 2015!

S6 ring

S6 only sat on the nest for a few seconds before being seen off by the Manton Bay pair. She stayed around the bay afterwards for a while, and you can see her flying around in the background in the video above. After a while, Maya took off to see her off for good. S6 eventually disappeared, after a total of eight minutes hanging around Manton Bay.

It’s fantastic that we have a 2015 bird back, as last season we saw no signs of any 2014 birds. The fact that she is a female makes us all even happier, as we have six male ospreys who are currently unattached. The hope is that she will discover one of them, settle down and bond in order to breed next year.

It’s quite early for the youngsters to start returning, so our (extremely) high hopes are that if S6 settles down quickly there’s a small chance she could even breed this year. It is rare for a two-year-old to breed, but it has happened before – a translocated female from 2001 returned to Rutland and bred in 2003, raising three chicks!

We will wait and see what S6 does – it is far more likely that she will spend some time visiting other nests in the area, and she may also pop over and visit our friends in Wales, as several of our other females have done! Look out for her Glaslyn and Dyfi!

S6 2