Begin again

Begin again

Maya and 33 have had a great year once again, raising two healthy chicks and bringing their total number of chicks raised to eight! 2AN and 2AM were incredibly well fed youngsters, making them strong and ready for their autumn migration to southern climes.

Last season, the final juvenile left on 24th August, and we thought that the adults would leave soon after. However, Maya didn’t leave until 6th September, and 33 left on 8th September. One of the reasons is possibly due to the continued need for nest protection. Even though it’s the end of the season, the Manton Bay pair won’t want to risk having to fight for their nest next year, should an osprey decide they like it and try to claim it as their own next spring. There are still some ospreys in the area currently, though many have departed, and there have been a few intrusions at the nest site in recent days.

Since their young departed, the adult ospreys appear to have reverted back to spring behaviour. Yesterday, Maya flew into the nest, then not long afterwards 33 landed on her back and tried to mate with her! She shrugged him off, so the attempt was unsuccessful.

Then today we saw a lot of nest building behaviour, and 33 even started scraping out the nest!

Plus Maya has gone back to sitting on the nest and shouting for food, even though she has caught several fish for herself and the juveniles since they fledged.

Ospreys’ actions are heavily influenced by their instincts, and the stimuli around them. An empty nest and the absence of chicks seems to have pushed their instincts into overdrive (particularly 33’s), and they are behaving as though the season is just beginning! We know that their instincts to migrate will soon set in, the only question is when, and therefore how much longer will they remain in Manton Bay…

Another osprey who’s migration instincts have not yet kicked in is 30(05), our satellite-tagged bird! She left on 30th August last season, so we are keeping a close eye on her data and will let you know as soon as she sets off!

Maya and 33

 

 

 

Messages to "Ozzie"

Rutland Ospreys at Birdfair

Thanks to Education Officer Pete for this great Birdfair blog and photographs!

We have just had a tremendous week-end at the annual “Bird Fair” based at the Egleton Reserve, where the Rutland Osprey stand was very busy for all three days of the 2017 event. Lovely weather, many visitors, and so much to do – it was great to meet old friends and meet many newcomers to the event!

Osprey Project stand and visitors

Osprey Project stand and visitors

 

There was a lot of interest in the Rutland Osprey Project, with many questions about the history of the project and the latest news about our 2017 season. It was also very useful to meet up with people involved in other conservation projects around UK and from countries around the world. We had many enquiries from teachers and parents wishing to find out how to get their children involved in our osprey activities, access our educational resources or organise group visits to the Lyndon reserve. On the stand the osprey badge making and the osprey ring quiz proved very popular with the children, and also with some adults!

Explaining how to get to Lyndon to see the ospreys

Explaining how to get to Lyndon to see the ospreys

Telling the story of the osprey project

Telling the story of the osprey project

 

Many attending Bird Fair then came over to Lyndon to take a look at the Manton Bay Ospreys before they migrate to West Africa.  A total of over 1300 visited Lyndon in the three days of Bird Fair and others joined the dawn and dusk Osprey Cruises on the Rutland Belle to get a different view of the birds around Rutland Water.

Boarding the Rutland Belle

Boarding the Rutland Belle

Simon King on Saturday's dawn cruise

Simon King on Saturday’s dawn cruise

 

At the beginning of Sunday morning’s cruise, an amazing spectacle was witnessed on the shore, as a mallard was seen catching and eating a swallow! Who’d have thought it?! Thank you Oliver Woodman for the use of your excellent photograph.

Mallard eating a swallow (Oliver Woodman)

Mallard eating a swallow (Oliver Woodman)

 

We explained to visitors about our educational  links with schools in the Basque area of northern Spain  which we have made via  the Urdaibai Bird Centre .“A message for Ozzie” activity gave the youngsters visiting Bird Fair the opportunity to write a short message which Ozzie will take on his migration to children in the Basque region of Spain. These messages will be used in their English lessons.

Messages to "Ozzie"

Messages for “Ozzie”

 

Talking to visitors about the Ozzie migration messages

Talking to visitors about the Ozzie migration messages

 

We must give a special mention to Sam Newcombe, our 11 year old School Osprey Ambassador from Casterton Primary School. Not only did Sam help on the Rutland Osprey stand for two days but he also managed to arrange to give short interviews with Nick Baker and Mike Dilger on Sunday! It drew a great crowd onto the Rutland Osprey stand and was enjoyed by all. Nick and Mike complimented Sam on his interview technique and wished him success in the future.

Sam interviewing Nick Baker

Sam interviewing Nick Baker

Sam interviewing Mike Dilger

Sam interviewing Mike Dilger

Making the video

Making the video of the interviews

 

Sam’s interviews with Nick Baker and Mike Dilger and other interviews with members of the Osprey Team and School Osprey Ambassadors will be sent to Urdaibai with the “Messages to Ozzie” for them to use with their school children during their Bye-Bye Ospreys Week (BOW) next month. We will post the interviews on the Rutland Osprey website soon.

As usual during Bird Fair the Osprey Team had the support of our dedicated team of volunteers to assist on the stand, at the Lyndon Reserve, and for the Bird Fair Osprey Cruises. Our sincere thanks to all who helped at Egleton and Lyndon this week-end.

Celebrity cruise!

Celebrity cruise!

 

Now that Birdfair is over, we have one more big event before the end of the season. We always have a celebration of the year with a special event, this year it’s a barn dance! Sure to be good fun, the price is only £20 for an evening of dancing, laughing and eating a delicious hog roast!

There will also be a raffle with some great prizes, including a session for 2018 at the River Gwash Trout Farm!

These events are important ways of raising vital money for the project to continue its work – we’d love to see all of our loyal supporters there celebrating with us!

Lots of you have already booked tickets, but there are a few left, so click here or call 01572 737378 to get yours!

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Osprey 28 fishing at Horn Mill (Geoff Harries)

Osprey 28 fishing at Horn Mill (Geoff Harries)

 

 

Bill Oddie in the stocks, ably assisted by volunteer Libby

Fairground attraction

What a busy Birdfair we have had! The Osprey Project is very popular and our stand at Birdfair always attracts a lot of visitors. We had a huge number of people visit our stand over the three days to hear about the ospreys and how well this season has gone. We had a highlights video showing all the osprey action from the season, a quiz for kids, badges and keyrings to make, osprey information and activity books on sale, and the opportunity to write a special message to “Ozzie” to wish him well on migration! There was a lot to do and learn, and of course everyone was interested in where they could actually see the ospreys, so directions to the Lyndon Centre were given out every few minutes!

The Osprey Stand (at the end of the LRWT tent) always attracts a lot of visitors

The Osprey Stand (at the end of the LRWT tent) always attracts a lot of visitors

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Badge making and quiz section

Badge making and quiz section

A lifesize wooden "Ozzie" hung from the ceiling!

A lifesize wooden “Ozzie” hung from the ceiling!

 

We still have three ospreys in Manton Bay, the two adults and 2AM, who have been delighting visitors to the reserve. There are also several other ospreys who remain around the area, as we found out on all five celebrity cruises! The osprey team attended the Birdfair cruises on the Rutland Belle throughout the weekend. Each one was a roaring success in terms of osprey sightings – there was barely a moment when an osprey was not in view, often more than one at a time, plus several ospreys dived and caught fish!

With thanks to Simon King and Nick Baker for being our celebrities on these cruises, and to all the volunteers who came along to help. A good time was had by all.

View from the boat on Friday evening's cruise

View from the boat on Friday evening’s cruise

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Simon King and rainbow

Simon King and rainbow

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From the left - Matthew, Simon, Katie, Kayleigh and captain Paul

From the left – Matthew, Simon, Katie, Kayleigh and captain Paul

 

We would like to thank everyone who came to visit the Osprey Project stand at Birdfair, attended the osprey cruises and visited the Lyndon Centre. Not forgetting all those who donated binoculars to our Uganda collection!

Our volunteers are wonderful, and we had help all through the Birdfair both at the fair and at Lyndon, and I would like to thank all of you for your hard work and efforts, making the weekend even more fun!

Speaking of fun, here’s a photo of Bill Oddie when, with not much persuasion, he good naturedly agreed to pose for a picture in the Discover Rutland stocks!

Bill Oddie in the stocks, ably assisted by volunteer Libby

Bill Oddie in the stocks, ably assisted by volunteer Libby

 

 

 

Not yet gone

Not yet gone

Birdfair is approaching, which means that August is nearing an end. The ospreys in Manton Bay are still with us though! Well, three of them are. We believe that the juvenile female, 2AN, left early on her migration on 29th July. This is the earliest recorded departure for a Rutland juvenile, but not for juveniles elsewhere in the UK. The adult birds, Maya and 33, and the juvenile male, 2AM, are all still present in Manton Bay and can be viewed easily from the Lyndon Nature Reserve.

The Lyndon Visitor Centre will close for the winter on Sunday 10th September, so there are only four weeks left to come and see the ospreys before it’s too late!

Manton Bay 2017 (JW)

Manton Bay 2017 (JW)

Maya dive-bombing cormorants (JW)

Maya dive-bombing cormorants (JW)

Maya chasing a marsh harrier (JW)

Maya chasing a marsh harrier (JW)

(JW)

(JW)

 

Other wildlife can also be seen readily from the reserve, ranging from birds to butterflies, wild flowers to water voles. Another marsh harrier was photographed at the weekend – here are the photos volunteer Matthew Blurton took of it hunting over the water. Thanks for these Mat!

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Last week we heard news from Tim Mackrill of the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation that, down south at Poole Harbour, one of our two-year-old ospreys had been spotted. CJ7 fledged from a nest in Rutland in 2015, and we haven’t seen her here yet, but she turned up at the osprey release site in Poole last Tuesday, and she was still there at the weekend! Click here to read the full story.  

CJ7

CJ7 with a Poole juvenile

 

At Birdfair this year we are collecting unwanted binoculars to help a wildlife education initiative in Uganda. Please bring any unwanted binoculars to the Rutland Ospreys Stand in the Outdoor Displays at the Birdfair! Click here for more details.

Uganda school 2

Site plan birdfair

 

 

Let us prey

Let us prey

It’s been another beautiful day in Manton Bay, and though the ospreys have not been on the nest very much, many happy people have wandered the well-trodden footpath to Waderscrape and seen them sitting in the bay and flying past the hide.

Here is a photo of 2AM on the nest as the sun was rising this morning.

More sun

In addition to our wonderful ospreys, there are several other birds of prey on the nature reserve. To name just a few, we often see buzzards and red kites flying over Manton Bay, there are both barn owls and little owls nearby, and recently there have been sightings of marsh harriers and sparrowhawks!

The sparrowhawk was seen on Monday evening when volunteers Mick and Malcolm were on duty. It swooped down in front of the hide, and grabbed a water rail which had been foraging on the edge of the reedbed! Thanks to Mick Spencer for these amazing shots of the sparrowhawk. Don’t worry if you’re squeamish, you can’t see the water rail in the photographs.

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Volunteer Jan Warren also witnessed a spectacular bird of prey spectacle on her latest shift – a marsh harrier catching a moorhen! Thanks to Jan for the following video footage of it!

Finally, here is another sunrise shot – look at the beautiful colours in those rays!

Rainbow rays