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By Tim on May 19, 2013
Brilliant news this morning! The first chick hatched at the Manton Bay nest overnight.
The first signs came just before 6pm yesterday evening when a hole appeared in one of the eggs. By dark, little had changed, but we were confident that the chick would be out of the shell by the time the camera came on at 6am this morning. And that’s exactly what happened. Here’s a video of the moment we saw the chick for the first time. Brilliant!
The chick will grown in strength during the day – and, with a bit of luck, we should see it being fed for the first time a bit later on. Keep watching the webcam!
By Tim on May 18, 2013
They say a watched kettle never boils. Well we can vouch for that after today at Lyndon. All eyes have been on the Manton Bay camera as we wait for the first chick to hatch. And the emphasis there is definitely on the waiting. We’ve been willing the first chick to break out of its shell, but nothing so far. Maybe it will be later this evening, or perhaps tomorrow morning? All we can say is keep watching the webcam! Here’s a close-up view of the three eggs which we recorded a few minutes ago.
Right, I’m off for another cup of tea. If that kettle ever boils, that is.
By Tim on May 17, 2013
If you’re anything like the Rutland Ospreys team, the chances are you’ll be glued to the webcam. We’re now on day 37 of incubation, meaning the first egg could hatch at any time. This is always an incredibly exciting time of year and so we’re all keeping a very close eye on 5R and his mate, for clues. If all has gone to plan then the chicks will now be calling from inside the eggs and using their egg tooth to tap on the egg shell. Our high-definition camera means we’ll be able to zoom in on the eggs and, fingers crossed, see the whole process in amazing detail. Keep watching the webcam. We all will be!
By Tim on May 15, 2013
It is not every day that you get invited to the House of Lords, but that’s exactly where myself and the rest of the team found ourselves last night.
We were there for the launch of Fly Lady, Fly a song written by Scottish singer and broadcaster Fiona Kennedy and Nils Elders. The song was inspired by the Loch of the Lowes record-breaking Osprey, Lady. Now 27 years-old, she’s thought to be the oldest breeding Ospreys in the UK. The song – a great mix of pop and tribal Celtic chants – is performed by hugely-talented 13 year-old Ruairidh McDonald and celebrates Lady’s annual migration from Perthshire to West Africa and back again. It is remarkable to think that in her lifetime Lady has now migrated more than 150,000 miles – the equivalent of six times round the world!
Although the song was inspired by Fiona’s visit to Loch of the Lowes, she was keen that the launch event should be a celebration of the UK Osprey story; and so the team and I were there to talk about our work at Rutland Water. I was delighted to be asked by Fiona to say a few words to the 80 or so invited guests about how we’ve restored a population of Ospreys to southern Britain for the first time in 150 years. I also spoke about how the birds’ amazing migratory journeys really capture peoples’ imagination and the importance of making strong links with other countries along their migration flyway. Central to this is the Osprey Flyways Project and, specifically, our education work in West Africa. To read more about it, click here.
Thanks to Fiona’s generosity a donation from sales of the single will be made to the Rutland Osprey Project as well as to the Scottish Wildlife Trust. You can download the song from iTunes and here’s a sneak preview. It’s a great song and if you buy it, you know that you will be helping to safeguard the future of these incredible birds!
By Tim on May 5, 2013
Well, who would have thought it? May bank holiday and we have been bathed under glorious spring sunshine in Rutland for most of the day! It’s a stark contrast to just a few weeks ago when the birds arrived to unseasonably cold weather. It’s also very different to this time last year when 5R and his mate were subjected to day after day of wet and windy conditions. To prove the point take a look at the two videos below. The first was recorded earlier today when the female was snoozing in the sun, and the second is from 1st May last year; when she definitely wasn’t enjoying any form of sunshine! Let’s hope the fine and dry weather continues for the next few weeks!
There have been fewer intrusions by other Ospreys at the Manton Bay nest in recent days, but earlier this morning three year-old male 28(10) flew over the bay; the first time we’ve seen him for a few days.
By Tim on May 4, 2013
We’ve had a bit of everything today: sun, rain, wind and hail. All the while 5R and his mate have had another solid day of incubation. In fact its amazing to think that they are now three-and-a-half weeks into the incubation period. This means that in a fortnight’s time, we should be getting excited about impending hatching. Keep your fingers crossed!
Today’s been a great day at Lyndon with many people enjoying the superb views of the nest from Waderscrape and Shallow Water hides. They are among the best views of breeding Ospreys that you’ll find anywhere in the UK, so if you’re not sure of what to do with the rest of your bank holiday weekend, then look no further! Osprey volunteers are on hand all day in Waderscrape hide and, as Lizzie reported yesterday, we now have an Ipad in the hide that allows you to watch the nest camera while you’re there. For more information on visiting, click here.
Meanwhile there’s been some great news from Dyfi where 12(10) has been settling in with the resident male, Monty. This afternoon she has been showing signs that she may be close to laying her first egg. If this does prove to be the case then it will be yet another demonstration of how important the translocation project has been in the Welsh Osprey story. Having lost Nora this spring, it’s great that another Rutland bird has taken her place. For more, check out the Dyfi facebook page.
By Tim on April 30, 2013
If you’ve been following the latest news from the various Osprey projects around the UK over the past few days then you’ll know that several young Ospreys have been really stirring things up. At Rutland four different three year-olds have been intruding at the established nests as they look for a territory of their own. At Dyfi, two Scottish Ospreys – both colour-ringed as nestlings in 2010 – have, quite literally, fought for the resident male’s attentions and, at the Lake District, a four year-old female originally from Inverness-shire, has ousted the female who was about to lay eggs. So what’s going?
Well, what we’re seeing at all these nests is actually quite common in the Osprey world. If you’re a young Osprey looking to breed for the first time, then your first port of call is an occupied nest site. Far better to try to take over an established nest, than build your own from scratch. Admittedly, if you come up against an established breeding bird, then you have little chance of ousting them, but as events in the Lake District show, if you pit yourself against a bird of a similar age, then you might just have a chance. Roy Dennis has been recording this behaviour in Scotland since the 1960s and now, thanks to the superb nest cameras that we have around the UK, many people have been given a fascinating insight into the dramas that unfold at many Osprey nests each spring.
What all this shows is that things are really looking up for Ospreys in the UK. To have young birds fighting for nests in England and Wales, demonstrates how things have changed in recent years. Twenty years ago it would have been almost unthinkable that this would be happening south of the Scottish border but thanks to pro-active conservation – the provision of artificial nests and the Rutland translocation – it’s becoming the norm each April.
For us at Rutland Water it’s particularly exciting that two of the birds involved in the recent dramas are individuals that we identified in West Africa. Over the course of three trips to The Gambia and Senegal we have identified almost 50 different colour-ringed birds, including numerous individuals from Scotland. One of them was white KL. We first saw KL on 22 January 2011 when she was perched on Ile d’Oisseaux in the Sine-Saloum Delta in Senegal. This idyllic, sandy island is a superb place for Ospreys to spend the winter. Apart from the odd fisherman, there are few people to disturb the birds and the delta’s shallow water provides rich hunting grounds. On our first visit there we saw 35 different Ospreys in just one morning. That day KL was tucking into a newly-caught fish, surrounded by Turnstones and with Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters zipping back and forth overhead.
Amazingly, when we returned a year later, we saw her again; sitting on almost exactly the same piece of sand. Now two-and-a-half years old, she would have returned to the UK previous summer. In all likelihood, her wanderings around the northern part of the UK would have taken her to the Lake District as she scouted out potential nesting sites. Knowledge that she has now put to good use.
Another of the Scottish Ospreys that we identified in West Africa was white UR. Originally heralding from a nest in Aberdeenshire in 2010, UR was one of several juvenile birds that we identified at Tanji marsh in The Gambia during our visit in January 2011. Juvenile Ospreys have a tough time when they first arrive in West Africa. They are often chased away from the best fishing sites by established adult birds, forcing them to wander over a large area before eventually settling down. When we identified UR at Tanji on 25th January 2011, it was too early to say whether the site would prove to be her future winter home. She seemed to be holding her own against the ten or so adult birds wintering there, but there was time for that to change. As it turns out, she did stay there. Earlier this year project volunteer, Chris Wood, identified her at Tanji again. Like KL, she would have returned to the UK at least once in the period between the two sightings.
The next positive sighting of UR came yesterday, some 2800 miles north, at Cors Dyfi. She landed at the nest before being chased off by one of two females who are currently competing for the affections of Monty, the resident male. Who knows where she will eventually end up. Perhaps in Wales, maybe somewhere in England, or maybe closer to her Aberdeenshire home? Whatever the case, its great to know another Osprey has returned to swell the ever-increasing UK population. And its even better when the Osprey in question, is an old friend.
By Tim on April 21, 2013
Spring is always a nervous time for the Rutland Osprey Project team as we wait to see which Ospreys make it back from the 6000 mile round-trip to West Africa. Sadly, this year we already knew that 09(98) wouldn’t be one of the birds arriving to re-claim his nest in late March. His satellite transmitter showed that he died on the northern edge of the Sahara, having been predated by an Eagle Owl during the night.
Last year 09 raised two chicks with 5N(04) – a female who fledged from the Site B nest in 2004. Unlike her mate, 5N arrived back in Rutland on 28th March and she’s been waiting patiently there ever since. Over the last few weeks we have received many emails and messages from those of you who followed 09’s story last September, asking if 5N has found another mate. Well, for the past few days 5N has been joined at Site N by four-year-old male 01(09); and they are already looking settled together. This is really encouraging and we’ll be sure to update you with more news in due course.
01’s not the only Ospreys to have returned to Rutland over the past week. Yesterday three-year-old male, 11(10), made several intrusions at the Manton Bay nest and today 28(10) has visited both his natal nest at Site B, and also Manton Bay. This brings the total of Ospreys to have retuned to Rutland so far this year, to fourteen.
Although it is too early to tell exactly how many breeding pairs we’ll have this summer, it’s certainly been a very encouraging start to the year. We’ll update you with the progress of 5N, 01, and some of the other Rutland birds later in the season but we hope you’ll appreciate the need to keep some information confidential for the time being. Sadly egg collecting and disturbance – accidental or otherwise – remains a threat. Last year, for instance, the police had to intervene when we caught two photographers underneath one of the nests.
For the time-being keep watching the webcam, check out our daily updates from Manton Bay, and if you can, come and visit us at Lyndon where you can enjoy some of the best views of breeding Ospreys anywhere in the UK. Watch out, too, for an updated Who’s who of the Rutland Ospreys which we’ll be posting on the site in the next few days.
By Tim on April 17, 2013
In recent weeks many thousands of Ospreys have been migrating north through Europe, heading for breeding grounds in the UK, France, Germany, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Staff and students at Holoskiv School in the Ukraine have been recording the Ospreys that have passed through their village of Goloskiv in the Letychiv district. Here’s what they’ve seen (special thanks to Володимир Новак for sending the sightings):
05/04/13 – 1 bird flew north through the river valley
07/04/13 – 1 bird
09/04/13 – 1 bird
10/04/13 Osprey “Eriks” stopped in the woods at 6 miles west of our village
14/04/13 – 1 bird resting on a tree in the woods south of the village
Most of these birds will have continued north to breeding grounds in Estonia and Finland. Check out our interactive schools map to see where they might be going.
Posted in Schools Blog
By Tim on April 16, 2013
We’ve just received a great video from Donatella Saccocci and the students of Istituto Comprensivo Grosseto 1 in Italy. Here’s what they say…
We are really interested in taking part in your special celebration of OSPREY MIGRATION! We really liked the idea of your project A Musical Migration! For this reason we are sending a traditional song from our country.
We live in Tuscany, Italy. In the past this region was covered in marshlands, and was therefore infested with malaria-carrying mosquitos. The quality of life here was very poor. Attempts to drain the land had been made since Roman times, but malaria remained a big problem for centuries. It was only at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, when Tuscany became Granducato di Toscana under the rule of the Austrian Asburgo Lorena , that the land was successfully drained on a large scale. Unfortunately, in 1824 Granduca Ferdinando III died from malaria contracted while inspecting the drainage works in Maremma.
Maremma Amara (Bitter Maremma) is the title of this anonymous folk song. The origins of the song are unknown, but it’s widely believed that it was written at the beginning of the 19th century, during the drainage works. During this period farmers all over Tuscany were given incentives to go and work the land in Maremma, but many couldn’t get back home, having lost their lives to malaria . For this reason, one of the most common forms of cursing in Tuscany is the expression Maremma maiala (literally: Maremma pig).
This song was rediscovered in the Sixties . Maremma amara must be sung very slowly, almost dragged out, in order to depict the pain of those who lost their beloved in the infected land of Maremma. Here are its sad lyrics, followed by the translation:
Tutti mi dicon Maremma, Maremma,
ma a me mi pare una Maremma amara.
L’uccello che ci va perde la penna,
io c’ho perduto una persona cara.
Sia maledetta Maremma Maremma,
sia maledetta Maremma e chi l’ama.
Sempre mi trema il cor quando ci vai
perché ho paura che non torni mai.
Sia maledetta Maremma Maremma,
sia maledetta Maremma e chi l’ama.
Bitter Maremma (translation)
Everybody tells me Maremma, Maremma,
but to me it seems a bitter Maremma.
The bird that goes there looses its feather,
I’ve lost a dear person there.
Cursed be Maremma Maremma
Cursed be Maremma and those who love it.
Every time you go there my heart trembles
because I worry that you will never come back.
Cursed be Maremma Maremma
Cursed be Maremma and those who love it.
Posted in Schools Blog