A fishing masterclass

One of the great things about watching the Manton Bay nest from either Waderscrape or Shallow Water hide is that you stand a good chance of seeing 5R fishing. As you’ll know if you’ve visited, the nest is on a telegraph pole positioned in the middle of the bay; with water on all four sides. 5R doesn’t always fish close to the nest – often he will head off to the eastern end of the reservoir – but this weekend he caught several fish in Manton Bay; treating lucky visitors to some spectacular views in the process. Luckily for us, John was there to capture all the action.

The view from Shallow Water hide

In recent years we have noticed a decline in the number of roach caught by the Ospreys – suggesting that the reservoir’s population has declined. There are indications, however, that they are on the increase again. And that certainly seemed to be the case over the weekend – all fish that 5R caught in the bay were roach.

5R hovering over Manton Bay

Beginning the dive…

Lifting the roach - with its characteristic orange fins - out of the water

During the incubation period 5R rarely caught more than two fish each day. But now, with three hungry chicks to feed, he has really upped his game. He has more than doubled his daily fishing effort; and it was no surprise on Sunday morning that he started fishing again almost immediately after delivering the first roach to his family on the nest. What was a surprise, though, was just how close he was to Shallow Water hide when he made his next strike. John’s photos say it all…

He’s seen a fish…

5R uses his powerful wings to help him lift the fish out of the water

A Greater Black-backed Gull attempts to steal the fish

If two catches wasn’t enough for the excited visitors, 5R later completed a hat-trick of Manton Bay catches.

Sometimes it can take a fishing Osprey up to a minute to lift its catch out of the water – and so its not uncommon to see them with their wings splayed as 5R is here

5R passes a Black-headed Gull and a Gadwall as he heads back to the nest

Ospreys always carry their fish head-first in the classic ‘torpedo’ position – this helps reduce wind resistance

5R with a group of Gadwall

As you’ll know if you’ve been watching the webcam, its usually the female who feeds the chicks. They are growing at an incredible rate (not surprising given all the fish Dad is providing) and its now easy to see their heads moving around from the hide. One visitor commented at the weekend that they look like puppets on a string!

In this photo, the heads of all three chicks are clearly visible as they enjoy yet another meal

The female spreads her wings after a feeding session. At this stage of the season, females rarely leave the nest unattended for more than a minute.

On Saturday evening passengers on our first Osprey cruise of the summer were treated to superb views of yet another returning Osprey. 30(10) fledged from the Manton Bay nest in 2010 and made one brief appearance last summer. We were wondering if we’d see him this year and, sure enough, he arrived on Saturday afternoon – intruding at his natal nest before being chased off by his Dad. To 5R, 30 is now just another intruding Osprey – and he treated him as he would any other bird that ventured too close to the nest. As luck would have it, 5R chased the young male into the North Arm of the reservoir and directly over the boat!

5R chasing his son, 30(10)

If this has whetted your appetite for visiting Manton Bay, you can find out more by clicking here. The view, alone, makes it worthwhile. The Ospreys aren’t bad, either.

4 responses to “A fishing masterclass”

  1. Mike Simmonds

    Tim a great set of photos and as usual a Blog to match.

  2. Ruth Smith

    Thanks Tim for an excellent blog as usual. We were at the reserve on Saturday and saw 5R seeing an intruder off at around 1pm. What a great time we had – thanks to the staff and volunteers for being so friendly and informative. Hope to be back soon.

  3. Rob Maye

    Superb set of photo’s to study accompanied by an as always interesting Blog thanks Tim.

  4. Nick Gordon

    Great blog as ever Tim, and some stunning photos from John!! Can’t wait for my first visit!!