Manton Bay

It’s behind you!

We couldn’t believe how much the chicks had grown when we turned on the camera this morning! They looked huge, in comparison to yesterday. To prove the reason why they look so good, 33 brought in another great big roach at about 08:30! Maya took it from him and looked set to feed the chicks, however, they all seemed more interested in 33, and were looking at him instead! She looked slightly confused, wondering why there were no mouths to feed! Eventually, they realised which parent had the fish and was going to feed them, and they slowly shuffled round to face Maya, who happily filled their cute little faces with fish.

Chicks looking the wrong way

Chicks looking the wrong way

Chick feed

Chicks feeding

 

When Maya and the chicks had finished, 33 came back for the remains of the roach. He brought it back a little while later, though, and gave it back to Maya. They are very good at sharing!

33 brings the fish back

33 brings the fish back

Maya feeds the chicks

Maya feeds the chicks

 

As Maya happily fed the chicks, 33 flew off to catch another one!

Maya in high definition

Maya in high definition

 

It’s lovely watching the contented domestic life of the Ospreys. 33 is proving to be a superb partner to Maya and father to the chicks. He often sits on the nest with them, and keeps looking at the chicks, making sure they’re definitely there!

Happy families

Happy families

 

If you would like to learn more about the Ospreys and the Lyndon Nature Reserve, why not join Project Leader and Osprey Expert Tim Mackrill, on a evening guided walk on Wednesday 3rd June! The walk begins at 5:30pm and finishes at 8pm – a lovely time of day to be out. It’s sure to be a fabulous experience, but places are limited, so click here to book now and secure your place!

The Osprey Cruises are also selling out fast! The 6th and 13th June are completely sold out, so the next cruise with available places is on Saturday 20th June – click here to book your place! 

33, Maya and chicks

33, Maya and chicks

 

Love every day

What an idyllic life Osprey chicks have. They have food, shelter, warmth and protection, and all they do all day is eat and sleep! They have eaten well again today, another huge roach that 33 caught lasted them almost all day! He landed on the T-perch with the roach at about 08:15, and stayed there with it for an hour. Maya started to get impatient, and actually flew off the nest and went to sit by him for a bit, as if to hurry him along! Whatever she said to him worked, as he then flew off the perch and landed on the nest with the fish, seconds after Maya did, as you can see from the video below.

Maya and 33 on T-perch

Maya and 33 on T-perch

Both adults and chicks

Both adults and chicks

 

All three of the chicks have been fed in turn today, Maya is very good sharing it out between them. To begin with it looked like the youngest chick was stuck behind its siblings and wasn’t getting any food, but later on Maya was seen to lean around the other two and feed the little one. There is no chance there’ll ever be a lack of food for these chicks, all three will be very well fed, without a doubt! 

Maya feeds chicks

Maya feeds chicks

Tiny one gets some

Tiny one gets some

More food

More food

 

Along with all the fish, 33 also brought in a stick today, which he very nearly dropped on top of the chicks! Maya moved it out of the way later, to a more suitable location.

33 with the chicks

33 with the chicks

Three chicks

Three chicks and a stick

These three chicks do not know how fortunate they are. They are very lucky to have been born in a place where food is abundant, to a father who catches fish with speed and ease, and to an experienced mother who is so very caring and efficient.

The chicks will grow large and strong, and it won’t take long. Every day they will look a little bit different. It will be fantastic to watch them growing up! However, before we know it, it will have happened… so we must treasure every single moment of this precious time!

Maya and her sleeping chicks

Maya and her sleeping chicks

 

Don’t forget to watch Springwatch tonight folks, to learn all about the super-Osprey 03(97), who is the father of 33, and the grandfather of 33’s first ever chicks. 8pm on BB2!

All five

All five

 

 

Lost in the moment

Well it has been another amazing day! This weekend has been full of them! It’s days like these we’ll never forget, days when everything is so unbelievably perfect that life couldn’t possibly be any better. Often, we are enjoying it so much we don’t even want to go home… speaking of which, here is a video of Maya feeding the chicks early this morning on the infra-red camera!

Maya feeding the chicks this morning

Maya feeding the chicks this morning

 

If you were watching the webcam around 16:30 this afternoon, you will know what the most exciting moment of the day was – the hatching of the third chick! This morning, at around 08:30, we noticed a hole in the third egg. Naturally, we assumed it wouldn’t be long until the chick popped out. However, we learned patience today as the chick did not emerge from its shell until just before we closed! Maya had been up and down throughout the day, feeding the chicks and turning the egg. We saw that the hole had grown, and even saw a bit of beak poking its way through at one point! 

That wasn’t the moment, though. Maya sat back down, and we waited a while longer. Then, eventually, it happened… Maya rose to her feet, and at them the third egg lay, almost completely in half. A moment later, the little chick broke out of the shell and into the air! It was a beautiful moment, and the centre was full of excited, happy people!

Egg showing a crack

Egg showing a crack

Third chick hatching!

Third chick hatching!

 

Soon after the chick hatched, Maya got up and went to the huge roach 33 had delivered to the nest earlier. The two older chicks immediately turned to her and begged for food, but the youngest was less interested and just lay quietly behind them. This newest chick is still too young to feed, it cannot hold its head up properly yet. Looking at the three of them together, you can see how much the other two have grown in just a couple of days. It won’t be long until their sibling catches up with them.

Three chicks!

Three chicks!

 

Not long after, 33 arrived at the nest, and sat watching Maya feed the chicks, looking down at them inquisitively.

33 looking at his chicks

33 looking at his chicks

 

33 is a great Osprey, and is fast getting the hang of this fatherhood lark. He has been providing fish frequently – so much so that, earlier in the day, Maya was sitting next to two half-eaten fish, as there was just too much to manage!

Two fish in the nest

Two fish in the nest

 

Needless to say, the chicks have been fed numerous times today on several different fish – roach, pike, you name it! Roach does appear to be 33’s fish of choice recently, and he has caught some monsters! This proves that 33 is going to have no trouble catching enough fish to feed his family. There will never be a shortage of food for the Manton Bay Ospreys!

Feeding the chicks

Feeding the chicks

Feeding the chicks

Feeding the chicks

 

 

Baby love

You’ve got to love Osprey chicks! Unlike many other baby birds, young Ospreys are not pink and ugly, they’re furry and cute! It’s great that they are born with the eye-stripe already in place, making them look like they’re wearing masks. They are a bit wobbly to begin with, and flop around a bit, but already we can see how much they have grown since they hatched, both chicks are looking bigger and stronger, and have no trouble holding their heads up.

Cute chicks

Cute chicks

 

Osprey chicks grow incredibly quickly, and in seven weeks will be adult size! This fast rate of growth is due to their diet of pure protein, and they have been very well fed today! Early this morning, Maya got up and fed them the rest of a perch that was brought in even earlier. She seemed to be doling out food in equal proportions to both chicks.

Feeding chick one

Feeding chick one

Feeding chick two

Feeding chick two

 

Later in the morning, 33 brought back a huge roach, and there was plenty to go round! 33 ate a bit first, then delivered it to the nest, where Maya took it from him and fed the chicks. I’ll never get over how delicate they are when they’re feeding the chicks, and never tire of watching them! 33 watched her for a while, then left to sit atop his favourite perch and keep an eye from there.

33 arrives with fish

33 arrives with fish

Maya feeds the chicks

Maya feeds the chicks

 

The roach was so big they couldn’t possibly finish it in one go, and, when the chicks had had their fill, Maya left it on the side of the nest. She went back to it a couple of times later on, and fed the chicks again. Then 33 came along and took the rest of it off to the T-perch.

Feeding chicks again

Feeding chicks again

 

Maya continued to brood the chicks throughout the day – she knows she must ensure they are kept warm. She also must incubate the third and final egg – it could hatch any minute now!

Maya and chicks

Maya and chicks

 

 

A day to remember

What an incredible day! As if it wasn’t enough excitement having chick number one hatch, chick number two hatches the very next day!

Two chicks!

Two chicks!

 

But let me start at the beginning…

Sunrise on the Ospreys

Sunrise on the Ospreys

 

This is how the day began. It was a beautiful scene over the Osprey nest in Manton Bay this morning, and I felt privileged to be able to watch the sun rise behind these incredible birds.

I watched and waited for hours, hoping for a fish delivery, and to capture on camera the first time the chick was fed. However, 33 didn’t come back to the nest with a fish until about 15:30! At the time, I was at Egleton, about to begin the introductory talk before our first 2015 Osprey Cruise. Luckily my colleague Anya was on hand in the centre to let me know what was happening, and to record the moment! Here’s the fish coming in! It’s great that he knows to bring the whole fish to the nest now.

Whilst our cruise guests had a cup of tea and settled in, I turned on the webcam for them on the big screen so everyone could watch the chick being fed. What a precious moment! I love watching Ospreys around their young, they are such superb parents. Ospreys are big birds, armed with such formidable weapons as those sharp talons and large beak, and yet when they are around their young they tuck those talons in tight, and are so supremely gentle when they feed their chicks, it is a beautiful thing to witness.

Maya feeding her chick

Maya feeding her chick

 

Next came the cruise. It was our first Osprey Cruise of 2015, and it could not have gone better! The weather was lovely, and we were in high spirits as we boarded the Rutland Belle. We saw an Osprey in the North Arm, then one over the dam, then we entered the South Arm, and the fun began! We had a great view of an Osprey in front of us who dived, and splashed about for ages on the surface of the water before giving up on a fish that must have been too big for him. He rose again, and we noticed another Osprey coming into view behind him! Two Ospreys! One of which we could easily identify as 28(10), due to his slightly wonky right wing, and the other was 33(11), as volunteer on duty Mick had phoned to tell me he had left the bay.

We watched the two of them happily, thinking it was great, then another Osprey joined the party! So we had three Ospreys all together, so close that we could see all three in the field of vision of our binoculars! Wow!

But it wasn’t over, oh no, not yet! After a superb very close fly-by of the boat by 28, the three birds dispersed, and we began our homeward journey towards Whitwell, feeling fabulous! Then who should appear on our port side but 28! He flew alongside at a distance, and was keeping pace with the boat all the way back to the harbour, and we watched him right up until we had docked at the quayside. What a way for the cruise to end!

If all of that wasn’t exciting enough in itself, whilst we were on board the boat, Mick phoned to say the second chick was hatching! I quickly rang Anya, who was luckily still at Lyndon, and she recorded the moment the second chick hatched!

It took it quite a while to free itself from the bottom half of the shell, and I was able to rush back round to the centre after the cruise in time to see it come out completely!

We didn’t expect the second chick to follow the first so closely, normally it’s a couple of days between each hatching. It was also very close in timing to the first chick yesterday. So when will the third chick hatch? Same time tomorrow? Keep your eye on the webcam! 

Maya and two chicks

Maya and two chicks

Close-up of the first chick this morning

Close-up of the first chick this morning