Better than fiction…

Even if we wanted to write a script for our Ospreys, we couldn’t make it more exciting than real life.

We were calmly sitting in the office, discussing the technicalities of tea making and how much tea our Information Officer, Kayleigh, can drink in a day (at a guess about 8-9 cups), when the phone rang:

“It’s John, 30’s on the nest”. And he hung up.

I repeated the message, but before I’d finished the word ‘nest’, Tim was already half way across the centre. Our satellite tagged WOW Osprey, 30(05) (an 8 year old Osprey from Rutland Water) put in her first appearance at Manton Bay, and was surreptitiously perched on the nest in full view of the camera. It was as if she knew that she shouldn’t really be there; after all, the Manton Bay female has worked hard over the last few days to get her nest up to scratch for the season, but at that point she wasn’t in sight. She’d flown off earlier, probably to investigate the other nests in the area, and 30(05) took her chance.

She was nervous though, and it was clear that something was happening that we couldn’t quite see. She kept glancing up towards the camera, shifting about, and ducking her head. The phone range again:

“The male 28 is in the bay, too.”

From his position in the hide, John could see what we couldn’t: the arrival of 28(10), fresh back from Africa. He’s only the second male back to Rutland so far this year, and he wasn’t for wasting valuable minutes with small talk. He’s never bred before, either, so this could be a tense moment. The camera began to bounce up and down, suggesting to us that he’d swooped in towards 30 and was now perched just above the camera. She looked up expectantly, and we all knew what was about to happen – those cheeky Ospreys! There’s no such thing as etiquette in the Osprey world, and in this case a video will suffice for a thousand words…

But 28’s immaturity and inexperience seemed to get the better of him; he tried his best though, and you can’t blame him if he’s just flown 3000 miles! Better luck next time!

Both Ospreys remained on the nest for a few minutes, conveniently flashing their leg rings at the camera and we could easily see the antennae of the satellite transmitter on 30’s back, but they didn’t attempt to mate again.

30(05) and 28(10) didn't attempt to mate again, but weren't in a hurry to leave either!

30(05) and 28(10) didn’t attempt to mate again, but weren’t in a hurry to leave either!

A few minutes later, and the timely arrival of the Manton Bay female sent them both scattering; after all of that hard work, she certainly wasn’t for giving up the nest in a hurry, and she proudly landed on the nest. For a few moments, we suspected that 28 might quickly change his allegiance and attempt to mate with her (she didn’t look unwilling in any case), but from the webcam, that was the end of the excitement. She took off and circled a few times, but nothing more.

So it seems that the 28th March is once again a momentous day for the diary at the beginning of the season at Rutland. Last year, four Ospreys (including 5R) returned to the county on the 28th, and it’s already looking promising, today. We’re all alert for the return of 5R, and fingers crossed that the beautiful weather forecast for the rest of the weekend will bring him in. Keep checking that camera, folks, and the blog. As WOW comes to a close tomorrow there’ll be more updates on our work this week, not to mention keeping up with our 8 WOW Ospreys!