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2AN isn't the only chick to go missing for a while - T6 did exactly the same last year!

Faces old and new

This morning we arrived at the centre wondering if 2AN had made an appearance since her disappearing act over the weekend. Unfortunately there was still no sign of her when we went over the nest footage this morning, so we were beginning to feel a little worried, but then Kayleigh remembered something very similar happening last year with T6, one of the Manton Bay chicks. Strangely, T6 went missing on the 30th July, almost exactly the same time of year – and she turned up again on the 3rd of August, so this has helped to put our minds at ease for now. For Kayleigh’s full account on T6’s disappearance last year, click here.

2AN isn't the only chick to go missing for a while - T6 did exactly the same last year!

2AN isn’t the only chick to go missing for a while – T6 did exactly the same last year!

Here’s hoping that 2AN turns up at some point today or tomorrow. For now, 2AM is still in the bay and has been getting way more than his fair share of the fish since 2AN has been absent! As mentioned in yesterdays blog, he had 3 smallish fish between 1pm and 5pm yesterday, and then at 19.14 yesterday 33 finally brought in a whopper!

Big trout
Despite the 3 earlier fish 2AM had tucked into, he spent a good 45 minutes eating this trout before flying off and leaving it on the nest. 33 then took the fish to a nearby perch.

33 flying off with the fish

33 flying off with the fish


This morning we had another visit from the crow, who hasn’t taken long to learn that the nest can be a source of free food after yesterdays visit – and this time the crow brought a friend!

2 crows, one with some leftover fish!

2 crows, one with some leftover fish!

At around half 9 this morning, 33 flew to join 2AM on the nest and began mantling – there were intruders about! Then, according to volunteer Katie in Waderscrape hide, both Maya and 33 left the nest to chase off 2 intruders, and they were absent for quite some time.

This left the coast clear for another intruding osprey to land on the nest – 1J(13)!

1J(13)’s parents are Maya and 5R(04), he fledged from this very nest in 2013 – so he was making a return visit! He hung around on the nest for quite a while before eventually leaving, and according to our volunteers in Waderscrape he even spent some time hassling 2AM at one point, who was sitting in the poplar trees behind the nest.

1J(13) on the nest

1J(13) on the nest

We haven’t seen much on the webcam since 1J’s appearance this morning, but Kayleigh popped down to Waderscrape hide this afternoon and was lucky enough to see loads of action! She saw Maya catch a huge fish in Manton Bay without even diving beforehand. Kayleigh reported that when Maya came up with the fish, her grip on it seemed to be loose, and she ended up dropping it over a huge group of coots in the water, unsettling them from a previously peaceful afternoon. Kayleigh also saw 2AM taking a bath in Manton Bay, and when he rose out of the water his talons were wrapped around the head of a fish! The fish was dropped before it fully broke free of the water, but it is interesting to know 2AM has seemingly already (almost) caught a fish without really trying, just casually mid-bath in Manton Bay! Well done 2AM.
2AM

2AM unhappy with yet another stick delivery

A very busy weekend!

It was another great cruise last night, with many sightings of (we think) 3 individual ospreys – including one catching a fish right at the end of the cruise! At one point we had views of 2 birds at the same time, near the Anglian Bird Watching Centre – one carrying a fish and the other circling nearby. It was great, and the rain held off until we were all getting in our cars to drive home – another great cruise! We now have just 2 cruises left with availability this season, one on the 9th of August and one on the 26th of August – to book your place click here.
Whilst watching the birds on the cruise, we suspected that one of them might be 33 trying to catch a fish for his family, as we hadn’t seen him return with a fish all day. However on reviewing the video footage this morning, it was clear to see this wasn’t the case – after his few brief departures from the nest during yesterdays cruise, he always returned with sticks!

33 doing a Pinocchio impression

33 doing a Pinocchio impression


33 brought stick after stick back to the nest yesterday, much to the disappointment of 2AM who seemed ready for some fish. At one point he even brought 4 reedy-looking sticks back to the nest in one go!
4 sticks


2AM unhappy with yet another stick delivery

2AM unhappy with yet another stick delivery


At one point 2AM even grabbed 33’s leg, as if he’d brought a fish to the nest.

Maya too retrieved a couple of sticks from the water yesterday and brought them to the nest – at least one of these sticks had been knocked from the nest by 33!


33 didn’t end up bringing a single fish to the nest all day yesterday as far as we know – maybe he dropped one after eating the head, which has happened before! Yesterday morning there was still some trout left on the nest from the night before, so we know our birds didn’t go entirely without food for the day. 33 had brought in the huge fish at 18.24 on the evening of July 28th, which 2AN immediately took.

As she was eating the fish she removed the trout’s swim bladder, which she then started to eat, despite still keeping her foot pinned to the rest of the trout. Seeing an opportunity to tuck into one of the two bits of fish, 2AM stepped forward, but rather than relinquish her grip on the trout or the swim bladder, 2AN dropped the swim bladder over the edge of the nest!

Luckily it hadn’t fallen in the water, and she was later able to retrieve it, leaving the rest of the trout free for 2AM to tuck in to.

2AM spent around 1 hour 45 minutes eating the trout – he must have been hungry! Eventually he left it at around ten to 9, and it remained on the nest until the following morning.

Today 33 didn’t bring the first fish in until early this afternoon, a small pike, and 2AM nearly took his foot off trying to get to it – he must have been hungry!

Less than an hour later 33 brought another small fish to the nest, and another amusing tussle took place when 2AM grabbed the leg of 33 that was furthest away from him, leaving 33 cross legged and flapping. 2AM then picked up a stick at the same time as the fish in his hurry to eat it – the pike from earlier clearly didn’t fill him up!

Then, at 16.50, Maya delivered a fish to the nest, again a smallish one! 2AM again was ready to tuck in.

You might notice 2AN wasn’t the first to these fish as is usual, and in fact we haven’t seen her on the webcam since the trout on Friday (28th) evening. She was last positively identified in the bay by our volunteers yesterday morning – perhaps she was fed up waiting for 33 to fish and went off to seek food elsewhere! We are hoping to see her return to the nest this evening – she is a bold bird so there is every chance she has just gone exploring, maybe she’s paid a visit to another nest.
The chicks on the 28th

The chicks on the 28th


We had a new visitor to the nest yesterday morning, after some scraps of leftover fish – not another osprey this time, but a crow!
Crow

None of the ospreys seemed worried as the crow spent a good couple of minutes on the nest before flying off (without being chased).
Finally to end today’s blog, here is a clip of 2AM trying to take off on Friday morning, accidentally taking a lump of turf with him and quickly deciding against flying with the turf in tow!

Bring your bins to Birdfair

Bring your bins to Birdfair

Please help us collect old binoculars for a good cause in Africa!

This year at Birdfair, the Osprey Project Stand will be holding a collection of old, unwanted binoculars! These binoculars are being collected for a school in Uganda that is setting up a forest school to teach the children about the wildlife on their doorstep. The use of equipment such as binoculars will help to get them interested in the flora and fauna so that some may take up a career in wildlife for tourism and conservation. The school is located near to chimp forests and is not far from mountain gorillas, and there is also a small population of migratory ospreys at the local crater lakes!

There is also a local college course aimed at training young adults to be Wildlife Support Officers and Tourist Guides and Rangers. The use of binoculars will also be a great help to students on this course.

If you have any unwanted binoculars please bring them to the Osprey Project Stand at the Birdfair, there will be a bin there to collect them. You will find us in Outdoor Displays (see map below).

Many thanks in advance for your help!

Uganda school 3 Uganda school 2 Uganda school 1

Site plan birdfair

 

 

Rainy days and cruises

Rainy days and cruises

Yesterday was another rather rainy day! The ospreys spent most of their time huddled in the poplar trees, hiding from the downpours. However, the rain caused some wonderful visual displays, such as this rainbow we caught on the wide angle camera, behind two rather wet juveniles!

Rainbow

Thankfully, the weather improved for our osprey cruise on the Rutland Belle yesterday evening. The sun even came out! It was rather windy though, which may have contributed to the three failed attempts at fishing we witnessed 33 make. We knew it was him as we’d been informed by our monitoring volunteers that he had left the bay and was heading our way. He spent a lot of time circling, soaring, hovering and looking down, then moving on and repeating, and he dived three times, crashing into the water but unfortunately coming up with nothing. Adult ospreys are said to be successful in one out of four dives, so we were hoping he would try again and catch! However, he began to disappear back down the south arm, and we had to make our way back to Whitwell.

In addition to 33, we had another 14 osprey sightings last night! It was absolutely incredible, often it seemed there was an osprey every way we looked, and sometimes two together! Last night’s cruise must be one of the best we have ever had.

Click here for more information about cruises and to book – there are only three dates left with availability!

33 beginning a dive (JW)

33 beginning a dive (JW)

33 hitting the water (JW)

33 hitting the water (JW)

 

It turned out that, after his failed fishing attempts just before half past seven last night, 33 didn’t catch a fish until 9pm! Here he is bringing it – a roach – to the nest, where 2AM is waiting.

After 2AM had been eating for 15 minutes or so, Maya came along and flew off with the fish to eat some on a perch. That was the last we saw of it on the nest!

The ospreys would have been very ready for the roach 33 eventually caught last night, as the only fish he had delivered yesterday up to that point was at ten to eight in the morning!

Maya was the first one to receive yesterday morning’s fish – no juveniles were in sight! It was as if we were back at the start of the season before incubation had begun.

Later, Maya brought the fish back to the nest, where 2AN grabbed it and began to eat.

Maya brings fish back

2AM then got his share at 09:40.

The last tiny bit of the fish was left on the nest for a few hours, until 2AN returned to the nest at 13:14 and polished it off.

Today’s first fish came in at 05:22, and it was 2AM again who was there to receive it!

33 with fish

Twenty minutes later, he flew off the nest holding the fish, and landed on the camera perch!

We didn’t see 2AM on the nest after that for the rest of the day. The next time we saw an osprey on the nest was at 13:35, and it was 33. He had come to the nest due to the presence of an intruder!

33 on the nest

After this, the next time we saw an osprey on the nest was ten to four. Maya had been sitting on the T-perch when all of a sudden she dropped off it and into the water, coming up with a pike in her talons! She brought it straight to the nest, alive and wriggling, where 2AN was so eager to take it that she grabbed Maya’s toe instead, while the pike danced around underneath! She’s lucky it didn’t leap straight off!

Maya incoming Fush 2AN with Maya's toe

2AN flew off the nest with the pike and ate it sitting on the camera perch.

Only half an hour later, 33 landed on the nest with a clump of nest material, then 2AN followed him to the nest, possibly thinking he had brought another fish. She looked rather disappointed that he hadn’t! What a greedy osprey!

Lastly, what a beautiful sunrise this morning!

Sunrise Maya

 

 

 

July Days with the Osprey Education Team

July Days with the Osprey Education Team

Here is a report from Education Officer Ken Davies on the work of the Osprey Education Team this month!

An End of Term Report

Reading Ozzie in Wader Scrape Hide (Roger Harrison)

Reading Ozzie in Wader Scrape Hide (Roger Harrison)

‘It must be nice to work here every day’, said one of our young visitors at the Lyndon Reserve recently, as we walked down together to Wader Scrape hide with her friends and Brownie leaders. ‘It is,’ I replied, ‘and that’s not only thanks to the Ospreys and the other fantastic wildlife that surrounds us all the time, but it’s also down to the hundreds of friendly and enthusiastic people like you who visit the Reserve every single day of the week, and also to the brilliant staff and volunteers we work with here.’ My young friend thought for a minute, and then said ‘I’ll come and work here when I grow up, if that’s OK.’ ‘It’s fine’, I replied, ‘you’ll be very welcome.’

These July days are good times to be living and working around Rutland Water. The Manton Bay Osprey pair have raised two strong and healthy fledged juveniles and it looks very likely that we shall have a very good number of juveniles fledging from the other seven nests. As usual, the Lyndon Reserve is pulling in visitors in great numbers and our schools and youth group diary has been full to overflowing with bookings in the mornings, afternoons and evenings. Osprey Cruises are once again so popular that there is hardly a space left, and the Reserve wildlife log-book has recorded spectacular sightings of moths, butterflies, bats, reptiles, beetles and rare plants, not to mention the fantastic birdlife on view the whole time down here in the Bay – Water Rails, Barn Owls, Great White Egrets……and so many more, including of course the wonderful Ospreys!

My Brownie friend ran on ahead to join her friends on the track, and I reflected on that brief exchange with her. Yes, she was right, it is ‘nice’ to work here! More than that. It’s exciting. Amazing. Exhilarating. Rewarding. And lots of other sentiments too. When I returned home later that evening, I just flicked back in my diary to the beginning of July. Here are the brief edited highlights of the past fortnight or so, concentrating on the end-of-term activities of the Osprey Education Team.

We began July with another visit to Stamford High School, where a large group of forty Year 9 students awaited us. Before we had even started our presentation, one girl told us that she lived on a farm near the Lyndon Reserve, and her father often reported Ospreys flying over his fields! Lucky him! Twenty four hours later and we are entertaining a younger group from a school on a visit to us – Brooke House School in Cosby, Leicestershire. It’s the first time they’ve been here to see the Ospreys, and their reactions seem to suggest it won’t be the last! A very pleasant day with super young people!

Brooke House School, Cosby (Pete Murray)

Brooke House School, Cosby (Pete Murray)

Brooke House School, Cosby (Pete Murray)

Brooke House School, Cosby (Pete Murray)

 

One day later, and a rare morning off! I take the chance to drive just a few miles over the Nottinghamshire border to link up with a small group of European Bee-eaters which have taken up residence near a working quarry. We manage to see five of them – dazzling birds with a startling array of wonderful colours in their plumage. They fly high, then land with their prey, calling all the time, busy, energetic creatures going about their lives completely unfazed by the watching crowd! Am I in Central England? Surely this must be the Camargue or maybe Andalucia! A Hobby appears in the sky, dancing around with the Bee-eaters, Swifts and Martins. A blue sky, full of wildness! I love it!

PICTURE 04-IMG_1743ADJ

Another day, and back to business! It is my contention that there is only one school in the UK that can actually WALK its students out of their classrooms and be watching Ospreys within a few minutes! Of course it’s Edith Weston School, or, as we like to call it ‘Osprey School No.1’! The whole school is coming to see the Ospreys over a period of a week, and today it’s the turn of the younger Key Stage 1 boys and girls. They arrive in a flurry of excitement, and soon we are ‘off to see the Ospreys’, all equipped with special child-friendly binoculars, chatting, pausing to look at damsel flies, butterflies and loads of sombre Cormorants sitting quietly in the dead trees in the water. As we enter the hide, we sense something very special has just happened…..and it has!! At 10.14am precisely, just half an hour before our arrival, one of the juvenile Ospreys took its maiden flight, and now sits, a little uncertainly, on the far leaning perch! Maya shadowed its flight, but has now returned to her own perch closer to the nest. Everyone in the hide, from the youngest (aged six) to the oldest (probably me!) is transfixed, willing the youngster to fly again! By the time we leave the hide, there have been no more flights, but to be there on such a day is a special memory for everyone.

PICTURE 05-IMG_1756ADJ

During the afternoon, my colleagues Jackie and Pete take the chance to go off and see the Bee-eaters, based on my account of yesterday, but they are back in plenty of time to receive our next group of visitors – the wonderful Oakham Brownie Unit, together with their accompanying collection of ‘Owls’ – was it Brown, Tawny or Snowy this time? We have met these Brownies before, in their HQ in Oakham, so they are already quite expert – in fact one of them is now an Osprey Ambassador for us in her own school. Holly joins us, and after a brief introduction in the Centre, off we go down to the hide again – a colourful procession in shades of yellow and brown! Almost as colourful as the Bee-eaters! The second juvenile Osprey has not fledged yet, but it could be any moment…

Bee-eater (Pete Murray)

Bee-eater (Pete Murray)

 

What a week it’s been so far! And it’s not over yet! On Friday evening there is a special cruise on board the ‘Rutland Belle’ for members of the ‘Wildlife Watch’ – a group organised by the Leics & Rutland Wildlife Trust. They have been meeting monthly all through the year, and this is their family event to end their programme for the summer. Sadly for me, on my way to Whitwell Creek to join the cruise, the Great North Road becomes the Great North Car-park, and I am still a few miles away when the Belle is due to cast off. As I stand disconsolately on the jetty, all alone, with the Belle a distant shape out on the reservoir, my mobile sounds and it’s Skipper Matt! He has spotted me, and is coming back for me! Minutes later, to the accompaniment of some ribbing from the crew, I am installed on board, and we have a lovely cruise, with six or seven Osprey sightings, and plenty of other wildlife too. Thanks Matt!

PICTURE 07-IMG_1829 PICTURE 08-IMG_1835

After the briefest of respites, it’s ‘all systems go’ again on Sunday, as we welcome our student representatives from local schools for their latest ‘Ambassador Sunday’ in Wader Scrape hide. The second juvenile Osprey has now fledged, so the theme for today has to be ‘Fledging and Flight’, and Pete updates each ambassador’s memory stick with the latest pictures so that they can share them back in their schools in the days ahead. Jackie has prepared a script, so our young reporters are well primed to deliver the latest news. One set of ambassadors from Uppingham have even been invited to visit another school to spread the word! The enthusiasm and ingenuity of these young people is very re-assuring and heart-warming. Several of our Year 6 ambassadors tell us they have already taken steps to appoint new representatives to take their places next year when they move on to new schools – and of course we hope they will remain as ambassadors once they are settled in their respective secondary schools. Some are even planning official ‘handovers’ and training their replacements! We shall continue to have ‘Ambassador Sundays’ in August (13th) and September (3rd) for those that can make it, and on Sunday October 1st we are planning a ‘Grand Ambassadors Party’ to thank them all (and their parents) for all their hard work in promoting the Rutland Ospreys this season. Has anyone got a jelly-mould in the shape of an Osprey?

Great Casterton Primary (Pete Murray)

Great Casterton Primary (Pete Murray)

PICTURE 09- IMG_1862

The following week (beginning July 10th) is just as busy as the previous one, with visits to Lyndon by 28 Year Six students from All Saints Academy in March, Cambridgeshire, the second stage of the Edith Weston ‘Walk to see the Ospreys’ tour of the South Shore,, two evening cruises on board the ‘Rutland Belle’, and finally on Friday a special Celebration Assembly at Casterton Primary, near Stamford. We have been invited to join in the celebrations of achievements of various kinds, and our job is to award the First and Third Prizes to two groups of students who sent their entries in for our ‘Ospreys and Us’ film competition. We show the winning entry to the whole school, before handing out the certificates and book prizes. It is a lovely occasion. There are also prizes for a student who wrote an epic story called ‘Finding Ozzie’, and another for a girl who drew a lovely picture of Ospreys in Africa. Perhaps the best moment is when our two outgoing ambassadors, Sam and Louie, introduce and hand over their duties to the new Casterton Ambassadors team. It’s all looking good for next season!

At home that weekend I go through the diary and start to add up the numbers of young people (aged 5 – 16), to whom we have presented, either in their own schools or here at the Lyndon Reserve. To my surprise, the total so far, up to and including 14th July, is a staggering 2997. With one week to go before all the schools have broken up, it looks like we are going to beat our record number, set last year, of students who have been ‘ospreyed’ here!

PICTURE 10- FOOD WEBS IN TEAL HIDE-IMG_1954 PICTURE 11-IMG_1931ADJ

And that record goes tumbling on the first day of the new week (July 17th), when Jackie and Pete go to Edith Weston Primary for one last time this season, to address the assembly and present yet more prizes. Later that day, Holly joins us as we entertain our last visit of the term – a splendid group from Prince William School in Oundle, Northamptonshire! These Year 7 and 8 students have already formed their own ‘Osprey Club’ and have been following the webcam since Maya and 33(11) returned in the Spring. I think we shall be seeing some of them again! And to top things off perfectly, during today we passed the magic figure of 3000 students, with our final total being a record-breaking 3071!

There can be no greater thrill for a writer than to come across someone actually reading his or her book! It happened to me a couple of Sundays ago, when I arrived at the Lyndon Centre to find a girl sitting in the corner with a copy of ‘Ozzie Leads the Way’! I learned later that her Dad had bought it for her earlier that morning, and she had spent time in the hide reading it (after getting a good look at the Ospreys of course!), carried on reading it on the path on the way back, then in the Centre itself, and even on the steps outside the pub where the family went for lunch! Her name is Jessica. I hope she sees this. A few days later, I received an e-mail from her Dad, with a little note from Jessica :

Dear Ken, Hello, it’s Jessica. I have now finished my book and I really, really, like it! Thank you for my badge and your signature. I like the part when Ken goes to Africa and meets all the children. What is your favourite part? I think you should make another book like that (as I really loved this one). Thank you for making such a lovely book for everyone and I hope you enjoyed reading this. From Jessica xxx.

Thank you Jessica! And yes, I certainly did enjoy receiving your letter!

I hope it is clear now why we enjoy this job so much, and why we feel it is such a privilege to be involved every day with spectacular wildlife, talented, committed and passionate colleagues, the splendid volunteer force, and so many hundreds of enthusiastic and wonderful young people and their supportive families. As another school term comes to an end and our thoughts turn to our Osprey Family Fun Day (August 1st) and the ever popular Birdfair (August 18th – 20th), thank you to everyone who has helped us enjoy ‘An Osprey Summer, 2017.’

Jessica and Ozzie! (Roger Harrison)

Jessica and Ozzie! (Roger Harrison)