5R returns home

Migration. It never ceases to amaze me. In all likelihood 5R has just flown 3000 miles across two continents, and yet this morning he arrived at the Manton Bay nest on the same day, at almost exactly the same time, as last spring. If that isn’t a true miracle of nature, I don’t know what is.

After wall to wall sunshine last week, the weather this weekend came as a bit of a shock. By 8:30 this morning volunteer Julie Gregg had been shivering in Waderscrape hide for over two hours. Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were singing, but they were the only signs of spring. The weather was far more reminiscent of January.

In the space of a few minutes though, everything changed.

Suddenly an Osprey appeared from the south. It circled over Manton Bay and moments later was joined by a second. And then, a third! Two of the trio – a male and a female – headed east towards the Lyndon Centre. Both were fishing and neither paid much attention to the other. The male made his way methodically past the centre and towards the Hambleton peninsular. Half way across he suddenly folded his wings and crashed into the water.  After a struggle he emerged with nothing and headed back towards Manton Bay. Julie, who had now been joined by Ken Baker and Lyn Howells, waited nervously. Eventually the bird landed and, though too distant to read, it was possible to see a green ring on its right leg. It had to be 5R, didn’t it? A short while later the bird moved to a dead tree closer to the hide and Ken and Julie could confirm it was indeed the male who raised three chicks at the Manton Bay nest last spring. Fantastic!

Half an hour later 5R resumed his fishing trip, and this time he was successful. Shortly after leaving the tree he hit the water, sending a huge splash into the cold air. At the third attempt he mustered up the energy to pull a huge trout out of the water. He eventually settled to eat it on the artificial nest on the south side of Lax Hill, providing great views for excited visitors in the Lyndon Centre.

An hour or so later 5R had still made little impression on the huge fish. After a bit too much hassle from the local crows he took his catch to one of the perches close to the Manton Bay nest. Here he could resume his meal in peace.

By 11am he still had only eaten about half the fish, but enough was enough. He left the remains on the perch and shortly afterwards, flew towards the nest. There waiting though, was the male Egyptian Goose, whose mate had just laid an egg in the nest. He reacted angrily to the sight of the Osprey flying towards the nest and chased 5R off! Perhaps unsurprisingly given his long journey, 5R did not make any effort to retaliate. He simply returned to the perch.

More than six hours later, he is still there. And so is the goose. Past experience suggests that, once he puts his mind to it, 5R will have very little trouble in removing the squatters. He has probably just been too tired to sort them out today. Hopefully that will change tomorrow.  

Keep watching the webcam to see what happens…