Looking for the summer

Looking for the summer

Today was still chilly with no sun to be seen at all, but there was slightly less rain. As such there was a lot more action on the nest, and we could actually see what was going on! This morning there was an early fish delivery at 05:57, this was a rainbow trout that was still breathing…

33 with fish

Maya flew in when she saw 33 arrive, and she fed the juveniles instead of letting them get on with it. Even though they can feed themselves, as we’ve seen, Maya still has the instinct to feed them, and they still have the instinct to be fed!

Feeding

At 08:30 there was an intruder over Manton Bay. Maya was away, collecting sticks from over on Lax Hill. 33 immediately came to the nest, though he unfortunately landed on 2AN’s back! Luckily for him, she didn’t attack him as she has done before, for instance when he dropped a stick onto her last month. You can see from the wide-angled video that a couple of black-headed gulls fly past very close to the nest (or the same gull flies past twice), but they are not the reason for 33’s panic. After the gulls disappear you can see an osprey flying into the bay and up out of the camera view.

33 lands on 2AN

33 standing on 2AN

 

The next fish was delivered at 10:08, and it was another large trout. This time, Maya wasn’t there and 2AN made a grab for the fish. In her haste she accidentally grabbed hold of 33’s toe instead!

33 with fish

2AN grabs 33's toe instead!

As expected, a good amount of flapping was witnessed today, from both the female and male juveniles. 2AN seems a lot more confident than her brother, but she is four days older. Both of them have a way to go before being ready to fledge, the next step is helicoptering, when we will see them rising higher and higher above the nest, getting braver and more excitable!

2AM jumping

2AN

2AN wings out

2AN wingspan

 

 

When the rain falls

When the rain falls

What a rainy day! As usual, the wonderful British weather is unpredictable and wild, and this summer is currently alternating between scorching hot sun and pouring rain. The past couple of days have been rather rainy ones! Due to this, there is not much recent osprey action to report, mostly because today the view on the screen has looked like this:

Rainy camera

The juveniles have looked a bit miserable today, but now that they are six weeks old they are able to regulate their own temperature and their lovely new feathers are fairly waterproof, therefore they are perfectly able to cope with the rain. They may not be happy about it though!

Wet chicks!

They have been fed well today, there was a fish this morning and 33 brought in another large one at 15:25.

Incoming fish

Yesterday saw a fish brought in at 06:48 which 2AM tucked into!

2AM eating fish

This drizzly weather doesn’t really inspire the juveniles to stretch their wings or flap very much, but 2AN did have a little go at flapping earlier.

2AN flapping

2AN is seven weeks old on Friday, and 2AM next Tuesday. Seven weeks old is the age ospreys generally fledge, therefore it won’t be long before this year’s brood take to the air!

Gorgeous 2AN

 

 

 

 

Urdaibai centre and wetlands

The bit in the middle

Last week two of our Osprey Education Officers, Jackie and Pete Murray, went on a special journey to northern Spain to further spread the word about ospreys at the Urdaibai Bird Centre – one of the main stopovers on the migration flyway! Over to them…

The Rutland Osprey migration story has England at one end and West Africa at the other. Many of you follow the story of the ospreys here in Rutland during the summer months, and will also have seen pictures and heard the tales of those who have visited the ospreys in their overwintering sites in West Africa.

Pete & Jackie Murray (two of the Osprey Education team) have just been on a visit to Urdaibai and here is their story about the ‘bit in the middle’ of this migration journey.

Situated in the Basque area of Northern Spain, the Urdaibai Reserve is an important part of the flyway for many migrating birds including ospreys. Its weather and geographical position tend to have a funnelling effect and for many birds it is the first place they will make landfall after the hazards of flying south across the Bay of Biscay. Our satellite tracked osprey 30 regularly passes through this area on her way to and from Senegal.

Panorama of Urdaibai

Panorama of Urdaibai

Urdaibai centre and wetlands

Urdaibai centre and wetlands

 

Just how important Urdaibai is to bird migration is brought home by the sign that greets visitors at the entrance, ‘Urdaibai Bird Centre – International Airport for Birds’. Inside the building the displays and films all take migration as their central theme. The flyways map display that greets the visitor stepping into the building is breath taking both in sheer size (two stories high), its design and the important message it conveys.

Bird centre

Bird centre

Flyways

Flyways

Entrance display

Entrance display

Flyways through Urdaibai

Flyways through Urdaibai

 

Like Rutland, Urdaibai had no ospreys, and also like Rutland migrating ospreys were regularly seen on passage. So, based on the success of the Rutland re-introduction, there has been a licenced programme of translocating a small number of chicks from Scotland to Urdaibai during the last five years. 2017 will be the last year for these re-introductions, and in July Roy Dennis and Tim Mackrill will be taking a small number of chicks to their new home in Urdaibai. When they learn to fly and migrate to Africa, they should subsequently return to Basque area to breed.

We were taken to see the “hacking pens” into which the new chicks will be homed when they arrive. All clean, tidy and waiting for their new arrivals. The chicks will have a stunning view over the wetland where they will learn to fly! There is a monitoring cabin nearby, with an outside kitchen consisting of a stainless steel sink under an awning, ready to prepare fresh locally caught fish to feed the young ospreys.

Observation cabin

Observation cabin

Hacking pens

Hacking pens

 

Some of the earlier translocated birds are already returning to Urdaibai and we were lucky enough to be greeted by a flyover from osprey 3N, as we left the nearby town of Gernika on our way to the Urdaibai reserve. Later we were able to view 3N on his favourite perch in the middle of the beautiful wetland that covers much of the Urdaibai Biosphere reserve. Sadly no breeding ospreys as yet as there are a lack of females, although a female Scottish bird did spend some time with 3N and accepting his fish before taking off once more and flying north.

Looking for N3

Looking for 3N

 

Everyone at Urdaibai is firmly committed to the idea of the future of conservation and the importance of the education of children, and they have strong links to local schools and to schools in Bilbao. Our schools in Rutland have been linked with these schools via skypes during World Osprey Week (WOW) each year, and pupils from Montorre and Urretxindorra schools area sent entries last year to our 20 years Rutland Osprey Festival. It was humbling to see pictures of these skypes, WOW work, and prize winning entries and certificates from the festival displayed in the bird centre. There was also a one of the pictures from Ken Davies’ book Ozzies’s Migration repainted on huge paper and the text translated into Basque.

Display one

Display one

Display two

Display two

Display three

Display three

 

While we were there we were delighted that some of the local pupils were able to be brought to the centre for what was rather grandly termed a ‘conference’ with us. In surroundings that would be appropriate in any conference facility and with the aid of a big interactive screen, we were able to describe Rutland Water, its surroundings and of course the whole osprey project from its beginnings. Although a very young audience, the pupil’s grasp of English was amazing, especially when it is considered that their first language is Basque and that they must also learn Spanish as well. They listened with interest and asked intelligent and well though out questions about us, the project, and conservation issues in Britain.

Conference with schools

Conference with schools

 

We cannot end without the story of the stork! When we arrived, after initial greetings were over, we were told we had to see their new chick. Puzzled as we had not thought there were any ospreys breeding, we clambered up to look out of a high window. Below on the edge of the roof was a large osprey type nest on a pole, and in the nest was a stork chick. Already the size of a goose it stood dozing in the sun. Several days earlier, it had been found having fallen from its nest in a tree in a nearby woodland. When found it was in a pitiful state, weak from lack of food, and covered in parasites. The locals brought the chick to the centre, where with the help of medication, a hastily built nest, and feeding on a kilo of food per day, the young bird was thriving. It is expected to fledge in a week or so and will be able to join the other storks on the reserve.

Stork chick

Stork chick

 

Huge thanks to Xarles and the staff at Urdaibai, the teachers and students from the local schools, and the friends we made during our visit- We look forward to our next contact with you all.

Birdwatching gallery

Birdwatching gallery

Spoonbills

Spoonbills

 

If you would like to know more about the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve and Bird Centre follow this link….

http://www.birdcenter.org/en/news/news/708-2017-06-23-11-10-45

 

Jackie Murray and Pete Murray

Sunset at Urdaibai

Sunset at Urdaibai

 

 

Will you still feed me

Will you still feed me

Yesterday’s heat made fishing quite difficult for our male ospreys, but as we anticipated many of them waited until the temperature had cooled and went out later in the evening, and three were seen on last night’s osprey cruise!

The cruise left Whitwell at 19:00 and two ospreys were seen almost immediately, attempting to fish in the main basin. Later on, after a steady chug around the reservoir seeing the sights, another osprey flew past the boat, at very close quarters! The next five cruises are sold out, but there are several more in July and August. The next cruise with availability is on Wednesday 19th July at 18:00. Click here for more information.

Osprey viewed from a cruise

Osprey viewed from a cruise (JW)

 

Due to the heat, 33 went fishing quite late yesterday evening and brought in a nice big roach just before 9pm. This fish was eaten by all four ospreys, but there was still some left on the nest overnight!

This morning, we witnessed the chicks feeding themselves for the first time – another sign that they are maturing well. At five weeks old they should be ready and able to hold onto a fish whilst pulling morsels off to eat, without having to be fed by the female. Today both of the chicks were seen capably doing just that!

Chick eating fish

5. Chick eating

Of course, the chicks still allow themselves to be fed occasionally!

Fed by mum

It’s been so hot today there hasn’t been an awful lot of action. Having said that, though, 33 did bring in a big stick at 13:50! As is usual with 33 and sticks, he did struggle a bit with it! First of all he dropped it on the neck of one of the chicks, then he and Maya tried to position it together, eventually managing to put it somewhere suitable.

Stick trouble

Moving that stick must have made them rather hot, and that was the only real action that occurred on the nest today. Maya has spent most of the day sitting on the nest with her wings slightly away from her body, trying to keep cool, with the chicks attempting to huddle under her to find shade. 33 will probably leave fishing until later in the evening again.

Huddling in Maya's shade

Huddling in Maya’s shade

Hot chicks

Hot chicks

 

Last night was a hot one, too. We captured this image of one of the chicks sleeping with her wing splayed out – I wonder if this is akin to having one leg outside the covers!

One wing out

 

 

 

New generation

New generation

Now that the chicks are five weeks old, it won’t be long before they are fitted with their leg rings! We ring all of the osprey chicks that hatch at Rutland, each with two rings – a metal BTO ring and a coloured plastic ring with a distinct number/letter combination. Rings are a great way of identifying our birds, discerning where they hatched from and in what year, and providing information on their whereabouts, if someone spots one elsewhere and is able to read the ring. It helps to indicate how successful the project is, from the number of Rutland-fledged ospreys that are returning to the area and breeding.

It’s also nice to see that Rutland ospreys are venturing further afield and have helped the osprey population to spread into other areas of the UK. For example, from ring numbers we know that one of our translocated males, 11(98), went to North Wales and bred there for ten years, raising 27 chicks. Also, both females that have bred at the Dyfi Osprey Project were/are Rutland-fledged birds. The current female, 12(10)/Glesni, is the grand-daughter of the infamous 03(97) or “Mr Rutland” as he was known to some – the very first translocated osprey to breed at Rutland Water, who bred for 14 years and raised 32 chicks. Click here for more information about 03. 

This year has brought about some special news regarding 03(97). One of Glesni’s chicks from 2013, 2R/Clarach, is breeding for the first time this year with an unringed male at Aberfoyle in Scotland, and is currently raising two chicks! This is fantastic news for Dyfi, Aberfoyle and also Rutland, as Clarach is the first great-grandchild of 03’s to breed, and therefore her chicks are 03’s first ever great-great-grandchicks!

Clarach isn’t the only great-grandchild of 03’s to return to the UK, as Rutland-born male 4K(13) returned to Rutland in 2015 (click here to read more). However, 4K is yet to breed. Clarach visited Rutland in April this year before heading north, and we would have loved her to stay here, but it doesn’t matter where she breeds, we are happy that she is and has brought the fifth generation of 03(97) into the world!

You can find out more about Clarach on the Dyfi Osprey Project’s blog – click here!

Here are some videos and photographs of Clarach and her chicks, courtesy of The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre at Aberfoyle.

Clarach on her nest

Clarach on her nest