What a great weekend it has been! The Ospreys in Manton Bay are still putting on a wonderful show for visitors to Waderscrape and Shallow Water hides, with the juveniles flying more and more proficiently, often very close to the hide, diving into the water and perching here, there and everywhere. This morning, the Ospreys were on the nest for a while, which is great for those in the Lyndon Centre to see on the live screen! Two of the juveniles showed their lazy side, and allowed themselves to be fed by Mum again!
Not wanting to be left out, S2 came along and joined in! He waited patiently for his turn, and Maya obligingly fed him too. The juveniles showed none of the aggression that they did when fighting over the fish last week!
After digressing back to childhood, as it were, and being fed my Mum, this afternoon S2 demonstrated behaviour much more appropriate to his age, and caught a fish! This is highly unusual, but brilliant! We have seen the chicks diving into the water repeatedly over the last few weeks, sometimes coming up with bits of algae, but more often empty-taloned. We didn’t think it would be long before one of the youngsters actually caught a fish, as they are all quite advanced and very confident.
It is very uncommon for juvenile Ospreys to catch fish before they leave on their autumn migration, and it’s something we have never seen before here. They get so well fed by their parents, there is no need for them to fish for themselves until they leave. However, as we mentioned in a previous update, the instinct to fish is innate. The youngsters will also mimic the behaviour of the adults in attempting to dive, as we have seen these three doing frequently.
It’s fabulous that S2 has caught his own fish, as it means he is well prepared for his migration this autumn. It’s worth noting that the fish he brought back was a tench, which we think he caught from Lagoon One. Tench is an unusual species for an Osprey to catch, as they are deep water fish. 33 has brought in a lot of tench this season, and we think Lagoon One is where he’s been getting them from. S2 must have followed Dad over there to see where he was going and what he was catching, then did exactly the same thing!
John Wright was in Shallow Water hide when S2 brought his fish back, so this means we will have some superb photographs soon!
Just as the instinct to dive for fish is inherent in the juveniles, so is the instinct to feed them in the adults. The adult birds could just abandon their young after fledging, and leave them to get on with it, but they don’t. They have a strong instinct to provide food for their offspring, and the female still has the urge to feed them, as we have seen above. 33 continues to be an ace at fishing, and keeps the fish coming in!
Recently, we reported that one of our two-year-old Ospreys had been spotted in Belgium. We have been informed that he is still there, and has been in the same place for over a week. 1K is a male Osprey who fledged from a nest in Rutland in 2013. He was seen near Marakissa in The Gambia in January 2014, after his brother, 2K, was photographed in almost exactly the same spot in December 2013. We were very happy to learn that both 1K and 2K had made it to Africa safely after they left Rutland in 2013, and hoped to see them return this year for the first time.
1K hasn’t quite made it back to the UK, but it’s great to know that he is alive! Counting him, we now have four Ospreys that we know of from 2013 that have returned (or almost returned). This is a 30% return rate, which is what we would expect. It is possible that 2K is also out there somewhere…
Our Osprey Cruise yesterday evening went very well (again!), and the weather was just perfect for it! We had some great views of Ospreys prospecting for fish, one of which was 33, whom we saw looking for fish over Lagoon One on the nature reserve. He soared, circled and hovered over the lagoon, then flew across in front of us and tried to fish in Manton Bay. Unfortunately for him, he got hassled to distraction by hungry gulls, lost patience and departed to try elsewhere.
Later, on our way east along the South Arm, we had another great view of an Osprey right in front of us, and we watched him for a long time attempting to fish. Like 33, though, he moved on after having no success. We were very happy with the views we had, having witnessed some classic fishing behaviour at quite close quarters, and it was a beautiful evening to be out on the water on the Rutland Belle.
We only have two Osprey cruises left this season that are not sold out! (Not including the ones taking place over Birdfair). The next one is on Wednesday 12th August, and the last is on Saturday 29th August. Click the dates to book!