Manton Bay Ringing

Manton Bay Ringing

This morning the Osprey Team met on the banks the reservoir, the storm had finally blown itself out and we were left with blue sky streaked with white cloud. The sun shone white light over the water turning everything else to shadow. The reservoir was as still as a mill pond, broken only by swans or ducks carving through its surface. From the depth of Manton Bay rose the pole the osprey platform sat upon, the nest itself made from stick, branches and even teasel weaved together into a protective ring. Before we could spot them the male and female osprey had spotted us, they rose into the air and circled above the nest, calling for our attention.

 

Before we knew it the tiny boat had chugged across the water to the nest, it towered above us, as the ospreys swooped even higher still. With great strength and skill the ladder was positioned at the top of the nest,  followed shortly after by BTO licensed ringer Lloyd Park, with great care the osprey chicks were lowered down into the boat. With skill, precision and a gentle hand the osprey chicks were fitted with two rings. One the metal BTO ring and second, a blue and white darvic ring, giving the two birds their individual identification. The rings will help to track them over their lives, informing us about their migration, breeding, and ecology; allowing a better understanding of these amazing birds. After the measurements and weights were recorded it was decided we had one male and one female, the male was given the ring 3AU and the slightly larger female 3AW.

The thick bill on 3AW indicates she is a female

 

In what felt like only minutes the birds were back in the nest, before we left we managed to give the osprey cams a much needed clean and then we were making our way back to the shore. The parent birds still circled above us as we disappeared, leaving them in peace. The report from the hide was that Maya was sat observing the nest from the perch, ensuring we did not return.

It’s hard to describe the feeling when you see something that you have watched on a screen or from a distance and suddenly it is right in front of you. Watching these birds grow up has been funny, interesting and truly incredible. Being up close with these birds was once of the most amazing experiences, I can’t wait to see what they do next. 

Male 3AU

Female 3AW

   

fish on nest

Fish lessons

The chicks are just over five and a half weeks old, they are definitely looking like ospreys now with their true feathers almost fully grown, however, they still have their amber eyes and buff feather tips to distinguish them from the adults.

Now that they are older the chicks are becoming more active and starting to learn about the world around them and in just a couple of weeks the young osprey will be fledging from the nest. Lucky they are getting in plenty of practice, not quite helicoptering yet, but definitely flapping their wings to exercise those flight muscles. It’s amazing to think that in a couple of months those wings could be carrying these young birds 3000 miles to wintering grounds in West Africa.

chick flapping on the nest

Today’s lesson for the chicks was live prey, although 33(11) the male will continue to feed the juvenile birds, as soon as they leave for migration they will have to fish for themselves. First thing this morning 33(11) brought in a relatively small fish, both Maya and 33(11) were having a few issues getting a hold of the fish, which led to one of the chicks getting a rather abrupt wake up!

Maya and 33 then left the nest, also leaving the chicks alone with the fish, the chick plucked up the courage to investigate the fish, however, it did still have a bit of life left in it. It’s a good job Maya is still on hand to feed the chicks.


  

fish on nest

At about 12:00 33(11) brought in a very interesting fish; it was identified as a Tench by Lloyd Park Reserve Officer. This is unusual as Tench are a bottom feeder, which makes them almost impossible for osprey to catch. However, it is most likely that these fish are spawning at the moment, meaning they will enter shallower water. It is very likely that 33(11) managed to pluck this poor Tench from the shallows of Manton Bay.

 

Tench caught by 33(11)

by Anya Wicikowski

Growing up

What a wonderful day it has been at Lyndon today, the sun did an excellent job of burning the morning mist away. On the reserve the wildlife has been busy, sightings have included: otter, great northern diver, swift, sparrow hawk, water rail and an absolute explosion of orchids across the reserve.

by Anya Wicikowski

 

 

The young ospreys are looking more like ospreys every day; they are starting to become very precocious round the nest, helping to arrange the nesting material and food begging.

 

It won’t be long until we will be visiting the nest to attach the rings, so they will match 33(11). All Rutland fledglings are fitted with one metal BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) and one blue/white Darvic ring, giving the young ospreys their very own ID. Our darvic rings come from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, allowing them to join the national project following osprey movement, breeding and migration.

We have also been having plenty of intruding osprey in the bay, all of which Maya and 33(11) have been chasing off. With all these ospreys in Manton Bay it’s a great time to come on one of our osprey cruises, with the chance of seeing new ospreys and ospreys fishing.

Food Fight

Food Fight

This morning was an early start for everyone; we had our first Dawn Osprey Cruise of the season! Visitors were treated to amazing views of ospreys attempting to fish in Rutland Water, all from the comfort of the Rutland Belle. After the cruise had finished a much needed breakfast was provided for attendees, cooked by our own Paul Stammers and a team of dedicated volunteers.

Around about the same time our visitors were enjoying breakfast 33(11) brought in breakfast for his family.

One of the fish brought in later on caused a little trouble between the chicks with both of them fighting for the best chunk!

Lucky Maya was on hand to feed the chicks and ensure each one got an equal share.

The chicks are getting stronger every day and have been busy testing out their wing strength, one of the chicks even had ago at repositioning some sticks, maybe practising for the future.

If you fancy booking onto one of our osprey cruses you can book here!

Feeding and Flapping

The chicks are now just over four weeks old, today they were busy exercising their wings and having ago at  feeding themselves.  We have also been having a few intrusions into the bay, but considering we now have 26 individual osprey around Rutland that’s not surprising, lucky they just seem to be investigating and don’t cause any trouble.


 

The chick hasn’t quite got the hang of pulling bits of fish off yet. 

Tries the second fish to see if it’s easier.

 

The second chicks tries to feed as well, Maya doesn’t seem bothered.

Maya is still making sure the chicks are properly fed.

It’s a good job 33 is a great at fishing with all these mouths to feed, this morning he managed to bring in two fish in less than an hour!