If you spent time at the Manton Bay nest in July or August then you may well hear a loud, plaintive ‘chip’. This far-carrying call is given by breeding birds upon sight of an intruding Osprey. It is a warning to the imposter not to come any closer; and is exactly what John Wright heard when he was at one of the off-site nests in Rutland earlier in July. As we reported on the website on 11th July he looked up to see a male bird approaching the nest and fired off a few shots with his camera. Closer inspection of the photos revealed that the bird was 4K; a young male who fledged from the Site C nest in Rutland in 2013. This was the first time that we had seen 4K back in his home county since his migration two years previously. It is always exciting when an Osprey returns for the first time, but 4K’s arrival was particularly noteworthy: as the great-grandson of 03(97) – Mr Rutland – he is the first fourth generation Rutland Osprey to make it home.
The fact that there are now four generations of Rutland Ospreys in an around the reservoir, demonstrates how successful the Rutland Osprey Project has become. The long-term aim of the project when it was set-up by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and Anglian Water in close collaboration with Roy Dennis in the mid-1990s, was to restore a self-sustaining population of Ospreys to central England; and this latest returnee indicates that we are well on the way to achieving that. It was fitting that 4K’s return has coincided with another major landmark for the project. Yesterday the 100th chick to fledge from a nest in the Rutland area made its maiden flight. The youngster is one of 15 chicks in seven successful nests this year (the one nest to have failed, was Site B). So not only does this take us past the magic 100 mark (the total actually now stands at 102) but it also makes 2015 the mist successful summer for the project to date. When you factor in that Rutland birds have also raised a total of 39 birds in Wales since the first pair bred in 2004, you really begin to understand the impact that this pioneering project has had on the distribution of Ospreys in the southern part of the UK.
With the Osprey population at Rutland Water now well-established, we have been working with landowners, Wildlife Trusts and other conservation organisations to encourage people to build artificial Osprey nests in neighbouring counties – and further a field. Our experience at Rutland Water, and those of Roy Dennis and others in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe, proves that this is a highly-effective way of encouraging Ospreys to spread to new areas. With more and more young birds returning to England, there is every chance of these outlying nests nests being used. With artificial nests in eight different counties, the future for Ospreys in England, looks bright. Who knows, when 4K eventually settles down to breed, maybe he will chose one of these outlying sites? That would be yet another sign of success.