“Be an Osprey Expert” - new Osprey book for children fledges this week!

“Be an Osprey Expert” – new Osprey book for children fledges this week!

A new book is flying from the book shelves at Egleton and Lyndon this week! Be an Osprey Expert, a new activity book specifically written for children, contains information, activities, and puzzles for children between 6 and 12 years of age; everything they need to become an Osprey expert. Children can use the book when visiting the Ospreys at Rutland Water Nature Reserve or can complete the activities by using this website. When the book is completed readers are awarded an Osprey Expert Certificate.

Written by two of the project’s education team, Jackie Murray and Pete Murray, the book features photographs and artwork by the project’s Field Officer John Wright and photographs by Pete Murray. The children featured as Osprey experts are from Edith Weston primary school in Rutland.
The book is now on sale at the Egleton and Lyndon Visitor Centres, priced at £5. Production of the book was sponsored by The Martin Lawrence Memorial Trust and optics manufacturer Swarovski Optik. All proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards the work of the Rutland Osprey Project.

OSPREY EXPERT JPEG (2)

The book will be officially launched during a special event at this year’s Birdfair at 3:30pm on Sunday 23rd August in the Author’s Forum. Children from Brooke Priory School will be on hand to sing a special song about the Rutland Ospreys.

Be an Osprey Expert joins two other titles written by the Osprey Project team. Ozzie’s Migration by Ken Davies is a story book for Primary school children and follows the migration of an Osprey from Rutland to Africa. The Rutland Water Ospreys by Tim Mackrill is the definitive story of the Rutland Osprey Project documenting the translocation of Ospreys to Rutland and the dedicated experts and volunteers who have made this project such a success.

S2 mistook 33's leg for a fish!

Fish fight

Over the past couple of day’s we’ve been joined by 15 year-old Toby Carter. He’s written a great blog about his two days with the project…

My name is Toby Carter, I’m 15 years old, and for the last 2 days I’ve been volunteering here at Rutland Water with the Osprey Team. I’ve been interested in nature for over 10 years now. I’ve had some amazing experiences over my time; I’m lucky enough to be a trainee ringer, this is lovely as you get up close to some amazing birds, recently I got to ring my first Green Woodpecker, my group of ringers that day were lucky enough to catch a pair!

 Day 1

On Thursday I headed down to Shallow Water hide in the morning to see what wading birds I could find, I managed to see;  Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Ruff and 3 Black-tailed Godwits in summer plumage. After enjoying those birds I headed over to Waderscrape hide to help the volunteers with the Osprey shift. I’d recently visited and helped out with the Osprey team as part of my work experience, and saw the chicks when they were only 5 weeks old. I can’t believe the difference now they are 12 weeks old!

No sooner had I arrived in the hide than the drama started. S3 was practicing diving into the water, when suddenly she rushed towards the nest and started to mantle; the first time I’d ever seen this kind of behaviour. I looked up and two intruding Ospreys were circling above, one then dive-bombed S3 on the nest; it was spectacular to watch! Mya then came to the rescue and pushed the birds away from the vicinity of the nest and out of view.

On the walk back to the centre, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Whitethroat were singing in the hedgerows and surrounding trees. At the centre I took control of the live feed and we caught some amazing footage of the chicks; the first piece of footage is 33 bringing in a Perch, and S1 and S3 having a fight over this fish. The fight went on for a minute and a half and was amazing to watch. The second piece of footage was 33 again bringing a small fish, and S3 grabbing the fish of him, then S2 grabbed hold of 33’s talon in his beak and tried to pull him almost off the nest! So S3 was literally pulling dad’s leg! He obviously thought he still had the fish!

S1 and S3 fighting over the fish

S1 and S3 fighting over the fish

S2 mistook 33's leg for a fish!

S2 mistook 33’s leg for a fish!

Day 2

I got up really early, and made my way to Shallow Water hide around 7:30am. When I arrived no one else was in the hide, and straight the way there was plenty of Little Egrets, herons and of course Ospreys.  The Greenshank was still around as well as Green Sandpipers, Common Sandpipers a Black-tailed Godwit and I got a fleeting glimpse of a Kingfisher; which was a bonus. Then suddenly Mya started calling and I got my scope on the bird and I was surprised to see that a Hobby was dive bombing Mya! This went on for a good five minutes, but it wasn’t until the local Common Terns came along, that the Hobby moved off! This is a memory that I’ll treasure for a while.

On the way to Waderscrape hide, there were more Whitethroats and a pair of Bullfinches in the hedgerows and trees. When I got into the hide, S2 was sitting on the nest, and 33 and the remaining two chicks were in the surrounding area. The Sedge Warblers and the Reed Buntings in front of the hide were making a fuss at something in the undergrowth: we think it was a Grass Snake as Water voles don’t worry the local birds. Apart from that it was very quiet. At the centre more and more people started to arrive in the afternoon. The public loved watching a Whitethroat coming to the bird feeders, and, as I’m writing this, a Spotted Flycatcher has made a brief appearance. With some patience I managed to show the people this lovely bird.

I’ve really enjoyed my 2 days here with the Osprey team, and I doubt this will be my last visit before the Birdfair!

Three's company - the three Manton Bay chicks together on the T perch

Three’s company – the three Manton Bay chicks together on the T perch

You may have seen 33 deliver this trout to the Manton Bay nest!

Fishing frenzy

As we have reported previously on the website, last year we helped Lawrence Ball and Jamie Weston to build photography hides at their two fish farm sites in Rutland. In recent years the local Ospreys had started to have a significant impact on fish stocks. After discussing the problem with us, Lawrence agreed that the best way forward was to take a pro-active approach; to actively encourage the birds to take fish close to purpose-built photography hides.  The hides were completed last summer, but they have really come into their own in recent weeks, when up to five different birds have been taking fish.  Geoff Harries has sent us a series of stunning photos that show 03(97), 01(09), 28(10) and 33(11) in action at the two sites at Horn Mill and Ryhall (51(11) is the other bird that has visited recently). If you would like further information, or to book a place in the hides, check out the River Gwash Trout Farm website. To see more of Geoff’s brilliant photos, make sure you visit his website too.

1 Osprey O1 plucks fish from water 2 2 Ospreyo1 wings folded 2 3 Osprey O1 nice wing spread 4 Osprey O1 wings spread 2 5 Osprey O1 takes away fish 2 6 Osprey O1 close up

03(97) - Mr Rutland

03(97) – Mr Rutland

28(10)

28(10)

You may have seen 33 deliver this trout to the Manton Bay nest!

You may have seen 33 deliver this trout to the Manton Bay nest!

Getting adventurous

Getting adventurous

The three Manton bay juveniles have again been putting on a great show for visitors to Lyndon today. All three are becoming much more adventurous; performing skillful aerial acrobatics in front of Waderscrape and Shallow Water hides. They are also beginning to venture away from the nest for the first time. S1, in particular, has been making some long flights away from Manton Bay; and earlier this morning was absent for more than an hour and half. The post-fledging period is an incredibly important time for young Ospreys: these exploratory flights help them to learn where they are from, and therefore imprint on Rutland. They also help to prepare the birds for the long and arduous flight to West Africa.

They might be getting more confident on the wing, but all three youngsters are still returning to the nest at regular intervals. 33 has brought two fish to the nest since 7am today, allowing all three chicks to have a good feed. As you’ll know if you’ve been watching the webcam, all three are now able to feed themselves. That said, S3 seemed a little unsure of exactly what to do with her breakfast! As you’ll see in the (edited) video below, S2 waited patiently for S3 to finish, before taking his chance to eat. With 33 providing so much fish, there is no need for any aggression between the chicks.

Later on this afternoon, 33 caught a pike in Manton Bay. All three chicks immediately flew to the nest, but it was S1 who got there first and eagerly tucked into his afternoon meal while the other two waited their turn. It was nice to see all three youngsters together while S1 ate the fish.

3 chicks

Don’t forget that next Tuesday is Family Fun Day at Lyndon. It promises to a great day, so make sure you don’t miss out. Click here to find out more!

S1 eating fish

Enjoying life on the wing

Having been on the wing for several days, the Manton Bay youngsters are being increasingly skillful and adept in the air.  Although this means that we see much less of them on the three cameras, John Wright and Dave Cole have been continuing to film their every move.

Dave spent much of yesterday in Manton Bay and he’s sent another fantastic film of highlights. As you’ll see, you really get a sense that the juveniles are enjoying their new found freedom; playing in the wind, chasing other birds and even grabbing at leaves in the trees.

As I’m sure you’ll agree from this video, now is a brilliant time to come and enjoy watching the Manton Bay Osprey family. The Lyndon reserve is open daily from 6am until 8pm and, aside from the Ospreys you’ll see a host of other wildlife. Dave’s latest film includes nesting Great-crested Grebes, Black-tailed Godwits and Little Egrets. So don’t waste any time – come and see us at Lyndon! Thanks again to Dave Cole for the video.

S1 eating fish

Although the youngsters are spending long periods off the nest, they always return when hungry!