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Burnished brass

Moths at Lyndon

It is true to say that the focus of the Lyndon Visitor Centre and Nature Reserve is on our pair of breeding ospreys and their young. However, there is a lot more than ospreys to discover here at Lyndon, and one of the many non-avian wildlife wonders are moths! Moths can be found all over the reserve, however it’s closer to the centre where we have a team of experts and enthusiasts who monitor the moth population.

Moth trapping has been taking place at Lyndon for a number of years. The moths are caught overnight in designed traps and are then identified and recorded the next morning, before being released back into the wild. These records are sent to the county recorder who forwards them to Butterfly Conservation. These surveys and records are very important indicators of the species of moths we have on the reserve and the state of their population.

Sadly, moth populations in the UK are in decline. The factors behind this include pesticide use in agriculture, residential development and poor habitat management. The effects of climate change are still being worked out.

The variety of habitats found on the Lyndon reserve, ranging from woodland to grassland, reedbed to scrub, helps to attract a wide range of moths – to date over 270 species have been recorded in the small area around the visitor centre!

The moths are always handled with care, of course, are only kept in the identifying pots for short periods of time and are released in safe places afterwards. The group are always happy to show moths to visitors and explain what they are doing. If anyone is interested in coming along and learning more about moths, please email me at kbrookes@rutlandwater.org.uk and we can let you know when the next trapping session will be held.

Here are some photographs of the moths we have caught this year, taken by Brian Webster.

Eyed hawkmoth

Eyed hawkmoth

Privet hawkmoth

Privet hawkmoth

Buff-tip

Buff-tip

Burnished brass

Burnished brass

Peach blossom

Peach blossom

Bordered sallow

Bordered sallow

Spectacle

Spectacle

Micro moth - Acleris forsskaleana

Micro moth – Acleris forsskaleana

Yellow tail

Yellow tail

 

A day without rain

A day without rain

What a busy day at Lyndon! The reserve was visited by several enthusiasts who were treated to excellent views of the ospreys and other wildlife of Manton Bay and the Lyndon Centre. Although the weather looked rather threatening occasionally, it didn’t rain, which is something we can’t take for granted, even in July! The morning began with another moth trapping session – more on that tomorrow!

There were a few intrusions by other ospreys down in Manton Bay throughout the day – four in total! The first one occurred at 09:22. 33 appeared on the nest but couldn’t seem to decide whether or not to be bothered by it!

The next one occurred at 12:46, and 33 got a bit more upset this time. As he was mantling on the nest, we saw Maya fly past, after taking off from the perch! Then in the background we can see her and another osprey, probably the intruder, flying around.

Maya flying past the nest after the intruder

Maya flying past the nest after the intruder

 

The next intrusion occurred at 14:05, then there was yet another one half an hour later!

33 hunkered down at the intruder

33 mantling low in the nest

 

None of the intruding ospreys came close enough to be identified, unfortunately. The ospreys in question could potentially be some of the non-breeding birds we have around the area, or they could even be juveniles from other nests who are venturing further from home!

This morning’s fish was the leftovers of the absolutely enormous trout that 33 delivered yesterday evening just before 8pm. It was huge! 2AN was on the nest to take it, and seize it she did (avoiding 33’s toe – well done 2AN!).

Enormous fish! Huge fish last night

Holding onto it with her strong talons, 2AN sat for 50 minutes eating this fish before 2AM landed on the nest, wanting his turn.

2AN continued to eat for a few more minutes, but it seemed 2AM had timed it just right, as she then moved away from the fish and he was allowed his turn.

The young male ate for around 20 minutes, then he left the fish too. About five minutes later, Maya flew in and began to eat the fish, then 2AM landed beside her and the next thing we knew he was being fed!

The fish was gigantic, and it wasn’t finished that evening – the rest of the it was left on the nest all night. It was early in the morning, at 05:05, when Maya and the two juveniles came to eat some more of it. Here we can see that Maya is feeding 2AM again! It was so early the camera was still filming in infra-red, and as you watch, it goes through the process of changing to daylight vision.

Maya feeding 2AM

Maya feeding 2AM

 

After 2AM had had his fill, Maya didn’t stop and she fed 2AN aswell! Instead of snatching the fish off the adult female, again 2AN surprised us by allowing herself to be fed. Such lazy young raptors!

2AN being fed

2AN being fed

 

33 delivered a fresh fish at 16:35. This fish was the polar opposite to last night’s – it was so small I almost didn’t see it when he landed! Both of the juveniles were on the nest, waiting in anticipation. 2AN is normally the one who’s first in line when fish arrive, so were very surprised when it was 2AM who got hold of this one and not his big sister! She attempted to steal it from him but he wasn’t about to let go, and even lunged at her to see her off. She then allowed him to eat in peace, and he consumed the entire thing himself.

33 flies in with tiny fish

33 flies in with tiny fish

 

What a gorgeous pair of juvenile ospreys! Here they are waiting together on the nest for a fish.

Together

Finally, here are a few photographs of some of the other wildlife that can be seen from Waderscrape hide. These pictures of a water rail chick and a fox were taken by volunteer Jeff Davies on his monitoring shift yesterday. Thank you Jeff!

Water rail chick (Jeff Davies)

Water rail chick (Jeff Davies)

Water rail chick (Jeff Davies)

Water rail chick (Jeff Davies)

Fox (Jeff Davies)

Fox (Jeff Davies)

 

 

First to the fish

First to the fish

We’ve had lots of action on the nest over the past couple of days, with our chicks spending plenty of their time there. Yesterday the action started early as we witnessed 2AM eating a fish on the nest at around 4.20am, in complete darkness! This is quite unusual for our ospreys – perhaps he was hoping that by starting early he could eat in peace without any hassle from 2AN?

Later 33 spent some time adding to the nest, bringing in a grassy clump just after 7am and a large amount of hay at around 10.15am.


2AM soon took advantage of this cosy addition to the nest and quickly settled down in the new hay! 33 looked like he was thinking about mantling at an intruder around about this time so it’s possible 2AM was dropping down to camouflage himself, and the new hay provided the perfect spot to blend into.

He stayed there for quite a while…
Cosy
…before shifting around to face the other way (his body at least!)

2AN looking at the camera

2AN looking at the camera


Settling down on the nest like this meant 2AM was in prime position to grab the first whole fish of the day, when it eventually arrived at 1.31pm.

It is quite unusual for 2AM to beat 2AN to a fish, and his inexperience at tucking into a whole fish showed as he struggled to break off that first piece – in all it took him 5 minutes to get his first mouthful!

After that there was no stopping him though – in total he spent around 50 minutes eating the fish, even managing to hold onto it when 2AN landed on the nest at around 2pm.

The only brief distraction from eating came when Maya dive bombed a cormorant just behind the nest!

It was around 2.20pm when Maya landed on the nest, throwing 2AM off his stride – Maya then took some of the trout innards 2AM had left to the side of the fish after struggling to eat them whole. A minute or so later 2AN then started tucking into the trout (Warning – the ‘Innards’ video is not for the squeamish!)


We had a wet and blustery start to the day at Lyndon this morning, but that didn’t deter 33 from fishing. He brought in the first fish at 05.36 this morning, and we saw a return to the status quo as 2AN immediately took the fish, with 2AM this time being the one to get some trout innards!


Later, at around quarter past 6, Maya got her turn with the fish.

We’ve also seen some nesting material brought to the nest this morning, firstly by 2AM who arrived with a bit of poplar tree, probably accidentally as it seemed to be stuck to his foot!

He then left the leaves in the middle of the nest as he took a walk around the edge, but later when he finally left the nest the leaves seemed to be stuck to his foot again.

33 also brought a lovely lichen-covered stick to the nest at around 08.42.

To end today’s blog, here is a sequence of photos showing our chicks practicing their synchronized wing flapping yesterday afternoon!
1
4
3
2

Guest to the nest

Guest to the nest

We had an exciting start yesterday morning – we’d not been at the centre long when an intruding osprey landed on the nest, right next to 2AN! It was 25(10) – a breeding female from an offsite nest. You may remember her from earlier in the season as she also landed on the nest on March 25th, a week after her return to Rutland. It is likely that she is enjoying some freedom now her own chicks are becoming more independent. At the time of her visit 33 was off fishing, and we think Maya was chasing off another intruder as she was nowhere to be seen. 2AN didn’t seem worried by the intrusion and remained on the nest the whole time – altogether 25(10)’s visit lasted around 2 minutes.


And here is her intrusion from earlier in the year, March 25th – where she was not welcomed quite as warmly!

25 on nest yesterday

25 on nest yesterday


With juveniles from many of the other nests around Rutland having now fledged, it will be interesting to see if we have any other birds land on the nest in the coming weeks.
Will we have other visitors joining the chicks on the nest soon?

Will we have other visitors joining the chicks on the nest soon?


It has been a busy start to the weekend here at Lyndon, with the school holidays kicking off and many families having a go at our special school holiday Osprey challenge, for the chance to win an osprey prize (ask at the centre if you’d like to have a go)! Our Manton Bay family have been keeping visitors well entertained, along with quite a few intruding ospreys overhead today.
Together
We saw something a little unusual after yesterdays fish delivery. 33 brought the trout to the nest and, as we’ve come to expect, 2AN took it straight from him.

2AM then had a turn, and for a while he was fed by Maya too – again, so far so normal.

Then, later in the day, we saw 2AN being fed by Maya! This hasn’t happened for a while now – maybe 2AN was feeling a bit lazy after all her recent flights exploring the area and time spent bathing in the Bay.

Today the weather at Lyndon has been a bit hit and miss – some sunny spells this morning but plenty of rain too this afternoon! Maya brightened up the nest with a bit of greenery earlier.

And even though the sky has been mostly grey today, the nest looks especially lovely after rain – all the lichen on the sticks becomes beautifully bright.
bright lichen

2AN with roach

Flying with fish

Last night’s osprey cruise was another excellent one! The weather remained cloudy with a fair bit of wind, but it was warm and not wet, which is a definite bonus. There were around five osprey sightings in total, and a trip towards Manton Bay was rewarded with views of Maya dive-bombing cormorants! Thank you to everyone who came along for what was a wonderful experience!

The next cruise with availability is on Wednesday 26th July, but spaces are selling fast! Click here for more information and to book.

Maya dive-bombing cormorants

Maya dive-bombing cormorants (JW)

 

It was rather a rainy morning today! Here was the scene on the camera when we opened.

Rainy

Luckily for us, the weather gradually improved throughout the day. Earlier in the morning, 33 delivered a roach to the waiting 2AN at 05:18, which she managed to take from him without grabbing his foot – progress!

Perfect handover of roach

Whilst 2AN was tucking in, first in line as per usual, both 2AM and Maya came along to see if there was a chance for them to get some. Maya came in with a stick, then looked at the fish as though she was thinking about trying to take it from 2AN. 2AN gave her a glare and shuffled away, and Maya took this subtle hint and took off.

2AN

2AN

 

Before Maya got her turn, it was 2AM’s chance to get some fish. Here he is tucking into it hungrily. No need to be fed, is there, 2AM?!

2AM. What a handsome chap.

2AM. What a handsome chap.

 

When 2AM had finished, Maya got her turn.

Maya gets the fish

Maya gets the fish

 

She ate what she wanted of the fish and left the remainder on the nest. 33 then came along to eat what was left, but unfortunately for him there wasn’t very much!

33 coming in for the fish

33 coming in for the fish

 

At 15:23 the next fish was delivered, again by 33. It was a roach again, and guess who was there to grab it? Yep – 2AN!

33 coming into the nest

33 coming into the nest

2AN with roach

2AN with the roach

 

She sat on the nest eating it for a while, then she attempted to take off with it! Neither juvenile has flown off the nest carrying a fish yet, and 2AN looked a bit unsure at first.

2AN attempting to take off

2AN attempting to take off

 

A few minutes later though, she did it!

Off she goes!

Off she goes!

 

The young birds are learning all the time, and even something as seemingly simple as flying whilst carrying a fish can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. 2AN managed it admirably, and this demonstrates the continual progress the juveniles are making.

At one point today, we saw 2AM leaning perilously over the side of the nest! After re-watching the footage we realised that he was trying to reach a bit of fish that had fallen over the side. He managed to get one piece, but then the next time he tried he almost lost his balance! It was raining though, which couldn’t have helped.

2AM leaning over the side

2AM leaning over the side, with Maya and 2AN watching!

 

Here’s Maya doing a bit of nest redecoration in the rain! We’re not sure what she was trying to achieve, as she wasn’t placing the sticks at the side of the nest, she was putting them in the middle…

Stick

Yesterday evening 33 came into the nest with a large clump of hay. 2AM was on the nest and had been calling for food, so must have been disappointed in 33’s gift!

33 with hay

Later though we saw 2AM moving some of the hay around.

He must have been arranging it to suit him, as he then lay down in it!

2AM lying down

Not long after, 2AN lay down with him. Aww!

Sitting down together

And here we have Maya and both of her offspring on the nest together.

Three on the nest

Three on the nest