A photo from a previous cruise taken by Tim Merrison of an osprey with a fish at Normanton church

Final cruise

Last night was our final cruise of the season, and what a lovely night it was! Knowing that a few of the juvenile birds (as well as some of the non-breeding adults) were already well on their way on migration, we were a little nervous – with fewer mouths to feed, would we still see our adult birds fishing? However we didn’t need to worry – as we were all standing around waiting to board the boat an osprey was fishing over the reservoir basin! The osprey caught a fish almost immediately – a very successful outing – the only downside was that we hadn’t yet got on the boat by the time it flew away over Normanton with the fish in it’s talons!

A photo from a previous cruise taken by Tim Merrison of an osprey with a fish at Normanton church

A photo from a previous cruise taken by Tim Merrison of an osprey with a fish at Normanton church


Once we were on the boat we headed straight down the south arm towards Manton Bay. We got some nice views of Maya flying around near Egleton, before she settled back down on the nest near 33.
We have been lucky to see flying ospreys on every single cruise this year, and on the whole the weather has been pretty excellent too! Thank you to everyone who booked a ticket, and if you missed out this year keep an eye out for cruise dates for 2018.
For now, Maya and 33 can still be seen from Manton Bay and there are plenty of intruding birds to spot too! Here are our couple on the nest together very early this morning.
Sunday morning
And here is a clip of both birds on the nest yesterday – Maya is food begging but 33 does not deliver. According to our volunteers in Waderscrape Maya spent a lot of time food begging yesterday, even though she can easily catch food for herself now that the chicks have gone!

2AM in his final moments on the nest

And he’s off!

It has finally happened – 2AM has started his journey south! We are not certain when he left exactly, but he was last seen on the nest at 6.38 yesterday morning. Paul Stammers then saw him in a poplar tree behind the nest on yesterdays Birdfair Dawn Cruise sometime after 7am, and he is last recorded in our hide logbook at 7.15am by volunteer Chris, who wrote – ‘2AM leaves the bay… migrating?’.

2AM in his final moments on the nest

2AM in his final moments on the nest


2AM picked a brilliant day to set off as the weather was perfect yesterday, so hopefully his journey should be off to a strong start. Here are his final moments on the nest.

Here he is landing on the nest a few minutes earlier, the sun rising in the background and black headed gulls flying all around him – what a scene!

What a brilliant summer it has been watching our 2 chicks grow up, and how fortunate that 2AM hung around for all the visitors who came to visit Lyndon during BirdFair. Whilst this nest was the first out of our 8 breeding pairs to hatch chicks, 2AM has been one of the later leavers amongst the juvenile birds – hopefully all that hanging around on the nest eating fish means he will be in great travelling condition. As for 2AN – she could well be in West Africa by now! Let’s hope we see both our chicks again in 2 years time. For now, Maya and 33 remain in the bay and can still be seen most of the time from Waderscrape hide. 33 has spent some time on the nest since 2AM left, along with some other visitors!
Pied Wagtails

Pied Wagtails


scavengers!
Maya and 33 may well be here for a little while longer, as they need to make sure they are in great condition before they set off – if you haven’t been for a visit to Lyndon yet this season, now is the time!

Black headed gulls from all over have made their way to Manton Bay

Life in Manton Bay

As you will know if you keep an eye on the webcam, it is now quite rare to see an osprey on the nest. Thankfully John Wright has taken some great photographs from Manton Bay lately, so we can share with you what our osprey family have been up to. For the past few days John has seen an unringed male bird in the area and recently this bird visited Manton Bay. This bird is likely Scottish, and will be stopping off at Rutland on his way back to West Africa. In this photo you can see 33 mantling on the nest whilst the unringed male flies overhead.

33 chipping at an unringed male overhead

33 chipping at an unringed male overhead


We know that Rutland Water is a great place for migrating ospreys to fill up on fish on their journey south, and in fact ospreys have been stopping off here en route to fish for over 35 years! This unringed Scottish bird was no exception, and John captured some brilliant photos of him carrying a headless fish.
Unringed Scottish male carrying fish (JW)

Unringed Scottish male carrying fish (JW)


(JW)

(JW)


(JW)

(JW)


This bird has an interesting pattern of both light and dark primary and secondary feathers (JW)

This bird has an interesting pattern of both light and dark primary and secondary feathers (JW)


John also captured these brilliant photos of 2AM chasing coots across the bay.
2AM chasing coots (JW)

2AM chasing coots (JW)


(JW)

(JW)


Here is Maya having a wash. Sometimes ospreys just dip their feet in, but in these photos Maya has gone a little deeper, never stopping to fully submerge her body as she sometimes does, but instead flying constantly, half-in, half-out the water. What powerful wings these birds have!
Maya having a wash (JW)

Maya having a wash (JW)


(JW)

(JW)


When we aren’t watching an empty nest on the webcam, we can sometimes see 2AM food begging on camera. These next photographs illustrate what is often going on a few metres away!
2AM on the nest (JW)

2AM on the nest (JW)


Hungry 2AM (JW)

Hungry 2AM (JW)


33 in the background eating fish (JW)

33 in the background eating fish (JW)


In this photo 2AM and Maya are both on the T-perch intently focusing on fish below in the water.
(JW)

(JW)


Our breeding ospreys continue to bring material to the nest throughout the season.
33 with turf (JW)

33 with turf (JW)


33 with many sticks (JW)

33 with many sticks (JW)


Here Maya is pinching a fish from 2AM as he looks on.
(JW)

(JW)


Here is another glimpse into the life of an osprey that we never see on the webcam – 33 playing and somersaulting in the wind!
(JW)

(JW)


(JW)

(JW)


(JW)

(JW)


(JW)

(JW)


How brilliant would it be to be an osprey for a day?!
John hasn’t just been capturing photos of the Manton Bay ospreys – here are a few of the other birds he’s seen from the hide.
A very close whimbrel! (JW)

A very close whimbrel! (JW)


Juvenile Red Kite (JW)

Juvenile Red Kite (JW)


Juvenile Yellow Wagtail (JW)

Juvenile Yellow Wagtail (JW)


(JW)

(JW)


Having a bath (JW)

Having a bath (JW)


In addition to watching ospreys, John has also spent some time studying the black headed gulls that have recently been massing outside Shallow Water Hide.
Black headed gulls under threatening clouds (JW)

Black headed gulls under threatening clouds (JW)


Some of these gulls have had rings on their legs – some both colour-ringed and metal-ringed (like our ospreys), and some with just metal rings. With his scope and camera, John has been able to read both the colour rings and the tiny text on the metal rings, and the results have been fascinating. On tracing the birds from their leg rings, John has found that in just a small area of Manton Bay we have black headed gulls with rings from Lithuania, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Brussels, Stockholm and London!
Black headed gulls from all over Europe - this gives you an idea of how tiny the text is, too (JW)

Black headed gulls from all over Europe – this gives you an idea of how tiny the text is, too (JW)


Black headed gulls and 2 of our Dexter cattle - notice how far away the gulls are (JW)

Black headed gulls and 2 of our Dexter cattle – notice how far away the gulls are (JW)


Black headed gulls from all over have made their way to Manton Bay

Black headed gulls from all over have made their way to Manton Bay


It is very rare to recapture a gull that has been rung as a chick as it is extremely unusual for them to fly into ringing nets (although it has happened once here at Rutland this summer!). This means that often birds are rung as chicks, and then the next time the bird ringer hears of the birds whereabouts is when the body is recovered at the end of their life. Reading the leg rings through a scope is a great way to collect data on the birds whilst they are alive, although reading the metal rings requires a great deal of patience (and some excellent optics too!). John has painted some of the different black headed gulls he has seen in Manton Bay.
(JW)

(JW)


Here you can see how the colour rings are larger and easier to read than the metal rings (JW)

Here you can see how the colour rings are larger and easier to read than the metal rings (JW)


This bird got it's ring in 1998 and, when it was noted as at least 2 years old! (JW)

This bird got it’s ring in 1998, when it was noted as at least 2 years old! (JW)


A double page from John's notebook, a colour ringed BHG and Maya's current moult

A double page from John’s notebook, a colour ringed BHG and Maya’s current moult


Here John has sketched Maya, 33 and the unringed Scottish male. Ospreys need to be in good flying condition at all times in order to catch fish, so rather than shedding all their flight feathers at once (like waterfowl), they shed their feathers gradually, as they take a long time to grow back. By noting the stage of their moult, John is able to identify individual birds in flight when he sees them again.
33's moult as of 3 days ago. Primary feathers grow very slowly (JW)

33’s moult as of 3 days ago. Primary feathers grow very slowly (JW)


The unringed Scottish visitor (JW)

The unringed Scottish visitor (JW)


Thank you to John for the incredible paintings, drawings!

Pink clouds reflected in the water

Ospreys overhead

We’ve been lucky to enjoy some brilliant sunrises at Rutland recently and today was no exception. Here is 2AM on the nest this morning just after twenty-past five.

2AM on the nest

2AM on the nest


Pink clouds reflected in the water

Pink clouds reflected in the water


2AM spent much of the morning food-begging on the nest, and at quarter past nine 33 eventually delivered a large trout to the nest.

2AM spent some time on the nest happily eating, until Maya landed on the nest, when he then flew to the camera perch. Maya then spent some time picking up the leftover bits of fish messy-eater 2AM had left on the nest.


A few minutes later 2AM flew back to the nest, almost landing on Maya who took this as her cue to leave!

It wasn’t long before 2AM lost interest in the fish though, and then Maya returned to take the trout for herself.

This afternoon Maya also brought a little fish back to the nest for 2AM. We have seen a few of these smaller fish being brought back to the nest lately and we expect that they are being caught in Manton Bay.

Other than that today has been relatively quiet, with the only other action being 33 dropping a large stick right in the middle of the nest this afternoon.

Yesterday was a slightly more action-packed day, with plenty of intruders overhead for our visitors in Waderscrape hide to witness. Here is the first of one of many mantling efforts from 33 throughout yesterday morning!

In this video 33 joins 2AM to mantle on the nest.

And in this clip an intruder seems to catch 33 off guard as he drops into mantling position partway through rearranging sticks on the nest!

Information Officer Holly Hucknall giving an introductory talk on the ospreys to a group

Funny fish

We had a great day at Lyndon yesterday ahead of the evening cruise. Plenty of cruise-goers came to visit Maya, 33 and 2AM in Manton Bay and attended one of our talks before heading over to Whitwell in the evening for the boat trip. At around 4.15pm we were initially a little worried when 33 brought a fish to the nest – did this mean we wouldn’t see him on the cruise later? We didn’t need to worry though as the fish was tiny – definitely not big enough to last our family the whole evening.

A light snack for 2AM

A light snack for 2AM

If you book onto a cruise there is an optional osprey talk to attend earlier in the day

If you book onto a cruise there is an optional osprey talk to attend earlier in the day

Once on the boat, Paul Stammers called volunteer Peter in Waderscrape hide to check on the whereabouts of the Manton Bay family. Peter said that all the birds were in sight and 33 had brought another fish to the nest at half 5, just as the Rutland Belle was setting off from Whitwell. Peter did say that it was another tiny fish though – maybe there was hope that 33 would fish again?

2AM grabbed 33's foot when taking the fish from him this time!

2AM grabbed 33’s foot when taking the fish from him this time!


Luckily, after a couple of very distant views of ospreys, 33 did indeed head out again fishing – and this time we saw him catch a big trout! We got great views as he came up out of the water, and with the wind against 33, Captain Matt managed to keep the Rutland Belle alongside him for a while as he made his way back to the nest. Fantastic! We know from the video footage that 33 ate the head of the trout before eventually bringing it to the nest at 7pm.

Only on getting to the centre this morning did we realise that as well as 33’s contributions last night, Maya had also caught a fish yesterday evening. Another tiny one, at 18.45 – so 2AM was a very well fed bird yesterday.

Earlier in the day 2AM seemed to be a bit flummoxed by something on the nest – it was a fish, but it was old and tough. He had a go at eating it, and moved it around a little, before eventually leaving it.

We weren’t sure where this fish had come from until we looked back at the footage – it looks like this fish had fallen from the nest some time ago and had become lodged on some sticks down the side. It was dragged up to the nest platform yesterday by a crow, who had a good go at eating it before leaving it to the ospreys.

There are now only 5 spaces left on our final cruise of the season, so if you’d like to book a place, click here.