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By Kayleigh Brookes on August 22, 2017
Thanks to Education Officer Pete for this great Birdfair blog and photographs!
We have just had a tremendous week-end at the annual “Bird Fair” based at the Egleton Reserve, where the Rutland Osprey stand was very busy for all three days of the 2017 event. Lovely weather, many visitors, and so much to do – it was great to meet old friends and meet many newcomers to the event!
There was a lot of interest in the Rutland Osprey Project, with many questions about the history of the project and the latest news about our 2017 season. It was also very useful to meet up with people involved in other conservation projects around UK and from countries around the world. We had many enquiries from teachers and parents wishing to find out how to get their children involved in our osprey activities, access our educational resources or organise group visits to the Lyndon reserve. On the stand the osprey badge making and the osprey ring quiz proved very popular with the children, and also with some adults!
Many attending Bird Fair then came over to Lyndon to take a look at the Manton Bay Ospreys before they migrate to West Africa. A total of over 1300 visited Lyndon in the three days of Bird Fair and others joined the dawn and dusk Osprey Cruises on the Rutland Belle to get a different view of the birds around Rutland Water.
At the beginning of Sunday morning’s cruise, an amazing spectacle was witnessed on the shore, as a mallard was seen catching and eating a swallow! Who’d have thought it?! Thank you Oliver Woodman for the use of your excellent photograph.
We explained to visitors about our educational links with schools in the Basque area of northern Spain which we have made via the Urdaibai Bird Centre .“A message for Ozzie” activity gave the youngsters visiting Bird Fair the opportunity to write a short message which Ozzie will take on his migration to children in the Basque region of Spain. These messages will be used in their English lessons.
We must give a special mention to Sam Newcombe, our 11 year old School Osprey Ambassador from Casterton Primary School. Not only did Sam help on the Rutland Osprey stand for two days but he also managed to arrange to give short interviews with Nick Baker and Mike Dilger on Sunday! It drew a great crowd onto the Rutland Osprey stand and was enjoyed by all. Nick and Mike complimented Sam on his interview technique and wished him success in the future.
Sam’s interviews with Nick Baker and Mike Dilger and other interviews with members of the Osprey Team and School Osprey Ambassadors will be sent to Urdaibai with the “Messages to Ozzie” for them to use with their school children during their Bye-Bye Ospreys Week (BOW) next month. We will post the interviews on the Rutland Osprey website soon.
As usual during Bird Fair the Osprey Team had the support of our dedicated team of volunteers to assist on the stand, at the Lyndon Reserve, and for the Bird Fair Osprey Cruises. Our sincere thanks to all who helped at Egleton and Lyndon this week-end.
Now that Birdfair is over, we have one more big event before the end of the season. We always have a celebration of the year with a special event, this year it’s a barn dance! Sure to be good fun, the price is only £20 for an evening of dancing, laughing and eating a delicious hog roast!
There will also be a raffle with some great prizes, including a session for 2018 at the River Gwash Trout Farm!
These events are important ways of raising vital money for the project to continue its work – we’d love to see all of our loyal supporters there celebrating with us!
Lots of you have already booked tickets, but there are a few left, so click here or call 01572 737378 to get yours!
Posted in Manton Bay
By Holly Hucknall on August 21, 2017
It has finally happened – 2AM has started his journey south! We are not certain when he left exactly, but he was last seen on the nest at 6.38 yesterday morning. Paul Stammers then saw him in a poplar tree behind the nest on yesterdays Birdfair Dawn Cruise sometime after 7am, and he is last recorded in our hide logbook at 7.15am by volunteer Chris, who wrote – ‘2AM leaves the bay… migrating?’.
2AM picked a brilliant day to set off as the weather was perfect yesterday, so hopefully his journey should be off to a strong start. Here are his final moments on the nest.
Here he is landing on the nest a few minutes earlier, the sun rising in the background and black headed gulls flying all around him – what a scene!
What a brilliant summer it has been watching our 2 chicks grow up, and how fortunate that 2AM hung around for all the visitors who came to visit Lyndon during BirdFair. Whilst this nest was the first out of our 8 breeding pairs to hatch chicks, 2AM has been one of the later leavers amongst the juvenile birds – hopefully all that hanging around on the nest eating fish means he will be in great travelling condition. As for 2AN – she could well be in West Africa by now! Let’s hope we see both our chicks again in 2 years time. For now, Maya and 33 remain in the bay and can still be seen most of the time from Waderscrape hide. 33 has spent some time on the nest since 2AM left, along with some other visitors!
Maya and 33 may well be here for a little while longer, as they need to make sure they are in great condition before they set off – if you haven’t been for a visit to Lyndon yet this season, now is the time!
By Kayleigh Brookes on August 20, 2017
What a busy Birdfair we have had! The Osprey Project is very popular and our stand at Birdfair always attracts a lot of visitors. We had a huge number of people visit our stand over the three days to hear about the ospreys and how well this season has gone. We had a highlights video showing all the osprey action from the season, a quiz for kids, badges and keyrings to make, osprey information and activity books on sale, and the opportunity to write a special message to “Ozzie” to wish him well on migration! There was a lot to do and learn, and of course everyone was interested in where they could actually see the ospreys, so directions to the Lyndon Centre were given out every few minutes!
We still have three ospreys in Manton Bay, the two adults and 2AM, who have been delighting visitors to the reserve. There are also several other ospreys who remain around the area, as we found out on all five celebrity cruises! The osprey team attended the Birdfair cruises on the Rutland Belle throughout the weekend. Each one was a roaring success in terms of osprey sightings – there was barely a moment when an osprey was not in view, often more than one at a time, plus several ospreys dived and caught fish!
With thanks to Simon King and Nick Baker for being our celebrities on these cruises, and to all the volunteers who came along to help. A good time was had by all.
We would like to thank everyone who came to visit the Osprey Project stand at Birdfair, attended the osprey cruises and visited the Lyndon Centre. Not forgetting all those who donated binoculars to our Uganda collection!
Our volunteers are wonderful, and we had help all through the Birdfair both at the fair and at Lyndon, and I would like to thank all of you for your hard work and efforts, making the weekend even more fun!
Speaking of fun, here’s a photo of Bill Oddie when, with not much persuasion, he good naturedly agreed to pose for a picture in the Discover Rutland stocks!
By Holly Hucknall on August 19, 2017
As you will know if you keep an eye on the webcam, it is now quite rare to see an osprey on the nest. Thankfully John Wright has taken some great photographs from Manton Bay lately, so we can share with you what our osprey family have been up to. For the past few days John has seen an unringed male bird in the area and recently this bird visited Manton Bay. This bird is likely Scottish, and will be stopping off at Rutland on his way back to West Africa. In this photo you can see 33 mantling on the nest whilst the unringed male flies overhead.
We know that Rutland Water is a great place for migrating ospreys to fill up on fish on their journey south, and in fact ospreys have been stopping off here en route to fish for over 35 years! This unringed Scottish bird was no exception, and John captured some brilliant photos of him carrying a headless fish.
John also captured these brilliant photos of 2AM chasing coots across the bay.
Here is Maya having a wash. Sometimes ospreys just dip their feet in, but in these photos Maya has gone a little deeper, never stopping to fully submerge her body as she sometimes does, but instead flying constantly, half-in, half-out the water. What powerful wings these birds have!
When we aren’t watching an empty nest on the webcam, we can sometimes see 2AM food begging on camera. These next photographs illustrate what is often going on a few metres away!
In this photo 2AM and Maya are both on the T-perch intently focusing on fish below in the water.
Our breeding ospreys continue to bring material to the nest throughout the season.
Here Maya is pinching a fish from 2AM as he looks on.
Here is another glimpse into the life of an osprey that we never see on the webcam – 33 playing and somersaulting in the wind!
How brilliant would it be to be an osprey for a day?!
John hasn’t just been capturing photos of the Manton Bay ospreys – here are a few of the other birds he’s seen from the hide.
In addition to watching ospreys, John has also spent some time studying the black headed gulls that have recently been massing outside Shallow Water Hide.
Some of these gulls have had rings on their legs – some both colour-ringed and metal-ringed (like our ospreys), and some with just metal rings. With his scope and camera, John has been able to read both the colour rings and the tiny text on the metal rings, and the results have been fascinating. On tracing the birds from their leg rings, John has found that in just a small area of Manton Bay we have black headed gulls with rings from Lithuania, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Brussels, Stockholm and London!
It is very rare to recapture a gull that has been rung as a chick as it is extremely unusual for them to fly into ringing nets (although it has happened once here at Rutland this summer!). This means that often birds are rung as chicks, and then the next time the bird ringer hears of the birds whereabouts is when the body is recovered at the end of their life. Reading the leg rings through a scope is a great way to collect data on the birds whilst they are alive, although reading the metal rings requires a great deal of patience (and some excellent optics too!). John has painted some of the different black headed gulls he has seen in Manton Bay.
Here John has sketched Maya, 33 and the unringed Scottish male. Ospreys need to be in good flying condition at all times in order to catch fish, so rather than shedding all their flight feathers at once (like waterfowl), they shed their feathers gradually, as they take a long time to grow back. By noting the stage of their moult, John is able to identify individual birds in flight when he sees them again.
Thank you to John for the incredible paintings, drawings!
By Kayleigh Brookes on August 15, 2017
Birdfair is approaching, which means that August is nearing an end. The ospreys in Manton Bay are still with us though! Well, three of them are. We believe that the juvenile female, 2AN, left early on her migration on 29th July. This is the earliest recorded departure for a Rutland juvenile, but not for juveniles elsewhere in the UK. The adult birds, Maya and 33, and the juvenile male, 2AM, are all still present in Manton Bay and can be viewed easily from the Lyndon Nature Reserve.
The Lyndon Visitor Centre will close for the winter on Sunday 10th September, so there are only four weeks left to come and see the ospreys before it’s too late!
Other wildlife can also be seen readily from the reserve, ranging from birds to butterflies, wild flowers to water voles. Another marsh harrier was photographed at the weekend – here are the photos volunteer Matthew Blurton took of it hunting over the water. Thanks for these Mat!
Last week we heard news from Tim Mackrill of the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation that, down south at Poole Harbour, one of our two-year-old ospreys had been spotted. CJ7 fledged from a nest in Rutland in 2015, and we haven’t seen her here yet, but she turned up at the osprey release site in Poole last Tuesday, and she was still there at the weekend! Click here to read the full story.
At Birdfair this year we are collecting unwanted binoculars to help a wildlife education initiative in Uganda. Please bring any unwanted binoculars to the Rutland Ospreys Stand in the Outdoor Displays at the Birdfair! Click here for more details.