Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day

On Thursday we held our annual Osprey Family Fun Day, as always it was a great event. Children of all ages had the opportunity to migrate from the U.K. (Lyndon Visitor Centre) to West Africa (Waderscrape Hide), completing a number of different activities and games along the way. At the end of the migration, families were treated to fantastic views of our own osprey family. We also had a bird ringing demonstration, led by our very own Lloyd Park, highlighting some of the other amazing migratory birds we have on the reserve including,  blackcap, common whitethroat, lesser whitethroat and chiff chaff. Overall it was another fantastic day allowing children to learn about ospreys, birds and how to enjoy nature.

 

The osprey family down in the Bay have been much the same, with 3AU constantly food begging whenever he sees 33. We are also still enjoying visits from a number of intruding ospreys, entertaining visitors in the hides. It won’t be long now until all three are leaving on their migration back to West Africa, let’s hope they stay long enough to enjoy Birdfair weekend. 

 

 

25(10) Female osprey

The Many Visits to Manton Bay

It’s been a busy few weeks around Rutland Water Nature Reserve; the Birdfair marquees are well and truly up, even though it only feels like they were coming down a few weeks ago. If you are visiting the Birdfair (17th – 19th August) don’t forget to pop into the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust (LRWT) stand, to see the Osprey Team and hear about the season so far. Better yet, you can join us on a wildlife cruise around Rutland Water with a celebrity guide and a member of the osprey team. Also keep a look out for the talks on over the weekend by the Osprey Team and one from former LRWT Senior Reserve Officer Tim Mackrill, who will be talking about the Poole Harbour Osprey Project on Sunday (19th August). There is so much going on for an osprey enthusiasts, it’s definitely worth a visit!   

The Manton Bay pair is also very busy, over the past week we have had more intruders than ever before. Yesterday we were visited by our lonely bachelor 51(11):

51(11) male osprey

 

And only a few days before that we were visited by 25(10):

25(10) Female osprey (right), 33(11) middle and Maya (left)

 

These are the only brave souls who have made it down to the nest, as 33(11), Maya and 3AU have all taken to mantling and chasing the intruders. The other osprey intruders unfortunately remain unidentified for the time being.

The intruders haven’t been confined to just osprey, on the last Dawn Cruise of the season, held on Saturday, the boat party were treated to amazing views of Maya and 33(11) chasing off a pair of herons. We have also had a few reports of peregrine falcon and osprey stand-offs down in the bay, so it really is an exciting time at the moment.

 

As for 3AU he doesn’t look much like he is willing to accept his independence anytime soon, currently he is spending most of his days in the shade of the poplar trees or food begging. However, I’m sure we will see some more osprey movements in the next couple of weeks and it won’t be long until they all start their migration. 

Don’t forget it’s Osprey Family Fun Day on Thursday (9th August), so why not come down to Lyndon Nature Reserve between 10am-2pm for a fun, educational and osprey filled day! 

3AU food begging

Eye of the Storm

Last night a monster thunder storm rolled across Rutland, the rain showers provided us with a necessary break from the relentless heat of the past week, however, today the sun has arrived back with a vengeance, leaving us in a warm and muggy atmosphere. In Oakham it is currently 30 degrees the same current temperature as Banjul, The Gambia, so any migrating ospreys will have an easy time acclimatising. On the Manton Bay nest we have seen all three members of the remaining osprey family, Maya visited this morning to undertake a little nest maintenance, one of the few times we have seen her on the nest recently.

33(11) has been very busy visiting the nest, mainly to chase away the many intruders who have been visiting the bay. A few days ago we even had an unidentified juvenile osprey visiting the Manton Bay nest, most likely a young bird from one of the nests on private land taking a longer flight out to explore the local area.

3AU is also still in the bay, he has been disappearing for long periods of time but for now seems to be sticking around the nest. He has been spending most of his time over the past three days food begging, at one point 33(11) seemed to give in and brought a fish to the nest, however, in 3AU’s excitement he manged to drop it into the water, never to be seen again. As 33(11) now seems reluctant to feed 3AU it looks as though it won’t be long until 3AU decides it’s time to head off on his long migration to a wintering ground, here he will become fully independent, catching his own fish and defending his own territory. 3AU has even been practising his defending skills on the nest today, backed up by 33(11) of course.

3AU food begging

We are expecting to have even more storms from late this afternoon, after the past few weeks of drought we can’t help but be thankful that we are finally getting rain, let’s just hope the ospreys are smart enough to find some shelter.

Last picture of 3AW and 3AU together

Where is 3AW?

It’s been very quiet down on the Manton Bay nest, the ospreys in the bay have only been returning to the nest to defend it or for fish. 33(11) is still doing a fantastic job of fishing and is still bringing in fish at least twice a day. Down in the hide the ospreys can still be viewed, although they are quite inactive during the day, most likely caused by the heat.

Furthermore, It looks as though 3AW has made a move, she hasn’t been seen since enjoying a monster fish that 33(11) brought in early morning on the 19th. It’s easy to forget that as these chicks hatched so early, it has now been almost a month since they fledged. Therefore, even if it is early, it could be quite possible that 3AW has started her migration south; however, it is also possible she is enjoying her new freedom and investigating other nesting sites in the area. If the latter is true, she could show up on the nest in the next couple of days, ready for one of 33’s fish. Either way, it’s nice to see she is now independent, if she has started her migration it will be interesting to see if we get any sightings of her over the winter, so with a slightly heavy heart we wish her well and hope to see her back in Rutland in 2020!

Last picture of 3AW and 3AU together

AW enjoying her last fish on the nest.

As for 3AU, he looks like he is still quite content with 33(11) bring him his fish, today he has spent most of the afternoon food begging, he’s also been busy practising his landings and seems much more confident. How much longer will he stick around?

(Anna Douthwaite)

Beauty and Beasts – Drama in the Reed Beds

The sun has brought all sorts out this past week and the lack of rain has caused the water levels to fall, generating a maze of newly created microhabitats, these mini wetlands will be full of food for a range of wildlife found on the reserve. The number of shorebirds has surged in the past few days, in Manton Bay we’ve had reports of snipe and godwit, and over at Egleton there has even been a glossy ibis.

Snipe (Anna Douthwaite)

Barn Owl seen in Manton Bay (John Smallman)

In the bay it’s not the ospreys which have been drawing attention, but what lies beneath the nest in the reed-beds, sometimes it pays to look down…. The incident was described to me by volunteer Anna Douthwaite, who also provided the photos. It was a normal Sunday morning with a bright sun and blue sky, the visitors and volunteers in the hide were treated to some lovely views of ospreys, joined soon enough by a snipe (see above), fox and beautiful grey heron.

Fox having a drink (Anna Douthwaite)

grey heron (Anna Douthwaite)

The day then took a darker turn, the heron picked its way through the reed bed, suddenly it stopped, the bird had found its prey, sadly it was one of the water voles that have been frequenting Manton Bay. The little vole put up the fight of its life and at one moment looked as though it could have got away, unfortunately, it was all in vain and before long the vole was gone.

found it’s prey (Anna Douthwaite)

(Anna Douthwaite)

almost got away (Anna Douthwaite)

(Anna Douthwaite)

Caught (Anna Douthwaite)

As for the ospreys the week as been much less eventful, the two chicks are still enjoying the shade of the poplar trees. We have been provided with some beautiful photos from John and Carol Smallman of the chicks and the adults enjoying the weather.

3AU lifts off from nest ( John Smallman)

3AW ( John Smallman)

3AW in flight ( John Smallman)

3AW lands on nest ( John Smallman)

3 AW (John Smallman)