Manton Bay

Blowing in the wind

Today has been fairly quiet on the Osprey front, as you might expect considering the weather we have had! The wind has reached speeds of over 40mph and several stormy showers have added to the assault. However, the wind and rain have been interspersed with the odd sunny spell, and we had a report of the most glorious-sounding rainbow, I only wish I could have seen it!

We only had one glimpse of an Osprey on the nest today. 28(10) landed on it at about 11:00, but he didn’t stay for long – the wind almost blew him off! It’s very likely that he spent most of the day sheltering from the wind somewhere.

28 on the nest today

28 on the nest today

28 holding on tightly against the wind

28 holding on tightly against the wind

 

Having three cameras to play with is fantastic. Here is a video created using some of the clips from yesterday, showing 28 flying over the nest where 25 is sitting, and then coming in to land on the T-perch.

We also have news of another arrival! Another male Osprey returned to his breeding territory yesterday – 06(09), a male who bred for the first time last season.

We hope to see more Ospreys arriving over the coming days.

 

Let’s hear it for the boy

There has been so much going on in Manton Bay today, it was unbelievable! We have had not one, not two, but three Ospreys in the Bay!

The excitement began at about 10:00… I was in the wonderful Waderscrape hide, opening up for the day, when a high-pitched call broke the silence of the empty Bay. It was 28(10) flying in, carrying a fish and being chased by gulls!

Here is a video of him coming in to land on the T-perch:

And being mobbed by some gulls:

28 with fish (2)

28 on the T perch

28 on the nest

28 landed on the nest briefly

 

We had thought that 28 might stay in Manton Bay, as there may be the opportunity for him to breed on this nest, as he almost did last year. So we were not surprised when he came flying in this morning with a fish. He sat on the T-perch for a couple of hours, alternating between eating and keeping a wary eye on the gulls and crows who wanted to steal his catch. We are all delighted that 28 is back, and also that he seems to have decided to remain in Manton Bay, as it means there will be an Osprey there every day for people to see from the hide, and also for us to show them from the Lyndon Centre.

I had stationed myself resolutely by the big screen to record any Osprey activity that might transpire. I was not disappointed, as, at about 13:00, an Osprey landed on the nest! One glance told me that this bird wasn’t 28(10), it was a female sporting a green ring – 5N(04)! The very same female who visited this nest last week.

5N on the nest

5N on the nest

5N(04)

5N(04)

 

5N seemed quite content to sit on the nest and enjoy the view, and 28 continued to eat his fish on the T-perch. He made no move to go to 5N on the nest or chase her off it. About 15 minutes later, though, 28 left his perch and circled the nest. 5N watched him for a few seconds then flew off the nest.

The pair of them circled around together, and ended up sitting next to each other on the perch!

5N and 28 on the T-perch

5N and 28 on the T-perch

 

Then, as if there wasn’t enough excitement already, 25(10) appeared! This is another breeding female who is waiting for her mate to join her at her nest site.

This video shows 25 flying into the nest from the left, then 28 passes overhead:

25(10)

25(10)

 

Three Ospreys in the Bay! It was quite hard to keep up with the movements of all of them – there was a lot of flying about and hopping from the nest to the perch. 5N seemed to dislike the other two being on the nest, and chased them off whenever they were on it.

This video shows 25 flying off the nest as 5N flies in:

This video shows 28 and then 25 leaving the nest, as 5N flies in again:

 

At about 14:30, 25 was sitting on the nest, then 28 appeared above her and attempted to mate with her, as the video below shows. As you can see, it was not a successful attempt, but 25 seemed receptive.

25 and 28

25 and 28

25 and 28

25 and 28

 

Eventually, at about 15:15, both females disappeared – presumably back to their own nest sites – and 28 was alone in the Bay once more.

25 and 5N are clearly getting impatient waiting for their respective mates, and are touring the area, looking around at other nest sites. Both birds have dropped in on Manton Bay before just recently (5N on Friday, 25 on Saturday), but did not stay for more than a minute at most. This time they stayed longer, probably because 28(10) was here, and the presence of a male would encourage them to stay.

What an exciting day! I can only hope tomorrow is just as exhilarating!

 

It’s 28(10)!

There has been some more excitement here at Lyndon today – another Osprey is back! It’s male Osprey 28(10)! He arrived in Manton Bay this afternoon and sat on the leaning perch - the one without the camera on it!

28 was first spotted by Barrie Galpin, and soon after was identified by John Wright. He is only a day later than last year, so he must have been just ahead of the bad weather that is holding up 30(05) and presumably many other Ospreys.

Eventually 28 came to the nest, and here are a couple of videos of him, on two different cameras!

28(10) is the Osprey with the slightly damaged right wing, the one with whom Maya mated and laid three eggs at the beginning of last season, and the one who was chased off this nest by 33(11). After being chased away by 33, 28 attempted to return to the nest several times, but eventually gave in. He stayed around the area for the rest of the season and he became the star of our Osprey cruises!

The Manton Bay nest was 28′s for a short while last season, so he probably still has a link with it. Due to this, we expect that he will stay around in the Bay for a while. This is great news for the Lyndon Centre staff, and for visitors to the Centre!

But who knows what will happen next…

vlcsnap-2015-03-29-17h46m12s191 vlcsnap-2015-03-29-17h24m53s209 vlcsnap-2015-03-29-17h17m24s68

Watching and waiting

There was still no sign of the Manton Bay Ospreys today, but we had a bit of excitement in the Centre when another Osprey landed on the nest! This time it was 25(10), another female who returned last week and is, like 5N(04), waiting for her mate to return. We managed to get a recording of her flying onto the nest (see below). Look out for her at the top of the screen just as the video begins!

At the moment we still only have five birds back in Rutland, the Site B pair and three other females. This time last season we had nine birds back on this date. This proves that the bad weather over the continent has slowed down more than just 30(05), and the Manton Bay pair are not the only birds yet to arrive.

Last season we were lucky as a lot of birds returned early, Maya being a case in point. This year the Ospreys are teaching us that patience is indeed a virtue, and we cannot expect our birds to always return on the same date each year. There are many factors that may affect the speed of an Osprey’s return, and the problems 30 has had demonstrate the effect of the weather on migrating birds.

Thus, we must wait patiently for the Manton Bay Ospreys to return to us, and, in the meantime, take delight from the fleeting visits of other Ospreys who have beaten the weather and already returned!

25(10) on the Manton Bay nest

25(10) on the Manton Bay nest

 

 

The winner revealed

It has finally happened – the first Osprey has landed on the Manton Bay nest! We all expected that the first Osprey on the nest this season would be Maya, the resident female. Last season this was indeed the case – she arrived on her nest on 17th March. This season has been different, however. It was not Maya who landed on the nest – she is still not back. There is no need to be concerned just yet, as we know the weather on the Ospreys’ migration pathway has been inclement to say the least.

So who was it who landed on the nest yesterday? Tim revealed the answer in his update - it was 5N(04). 5N is a breeding female who has been back in Rutland for about a week, and is still waiting for her partner to return and join her at her nest site. She also visited the Manton Bay nest last season, along with several other breeding females looking around at other nests.

5N was the first Rutland-fledged Osprey to breed, and it was the Manton Bay nest on which she bred for that first year – 2007. She moved to another site after the failure of her nest in 2008.

5N(04) on the Manton Bay nest

5N(04) on the Manton Bay nest

 

So there we have it – the first Osprey to arrive in Manton Bay in 2015 occurred at 12:51 on 27th March. This makes the winner of our competition Mr Terry Davies, who guessed the closest time at 14:25. Congratulations Terry! Terry is the winner of two vouchers for an Osprey cruise on the Rutland Belle.

We are all full of hope that Maya will soon return to the Bay, and be joined by 33(11). Keep your eyes on the camera, folks, mine will certainly not be leaving it any time soon!

 

Patience is a virtue

We’ve had another good day at Lyndon today, but still no Osprey in Manton Bay! However, whilst we might be getting impatient looking at an empty nest all day, it’s worth remembering that it’s still early in the season, and a lot of Ospreys will still be on their way. Also, the weather has been quite bad recently over the continent, which is slowing down our satellite-tagged female, 30(05), and so is very likely to be slowing down other Ospreys aswell.

Due to the fact that the Manton Bay female, Maya, arrived back on 17th March last year, we’ve all been expecting her for a few days now. We are aware, though, that she does not always stick to a certain day, and in the past her arrival dates have ranged from 21st March to as late as 1st April. It doesn’t stop us hoping she’ll be back soon though!

We also hope that 33(11) will return earlier this year than 13th April, which was the date he returned last season. Last year, though, he did not have a territory of his own, so was in no rush. This year should be different, as he now has a territory and a mate, which should motivate him to come back sooner!

Although we still await the birds in Manton Bay, some of our other Ospreys have been steadily returning. Since 03(97) came home on 17th March, three other Ospreys have returned to Rutland. They are 5N(04), 25(10) and 00(09) – three females who all bred here last year on nests on private land.

Fingers crossed for more birds returning over the coming days!

03(97) at his nest site last week

03(97) at his nest site last week

Ken’s diary 2015

Here is a wonderfully inspirational piece from Ken Davies, long-term volunteer and new Osprey Education Officer for 2015! Take it away Ken…

 

“New Season, new job, new hide, new shirt…..and an old friend returns!”

Wednesday March 18th : Have you ever woken up with an absolutely euphoric feeling of well-being? I have to admit that I did this morning! It’s 6.00am, and I am already up and preparing for another busy day at the Rutland Osprey Project! Actually this ‘Oh Happy Day!’ feeling has been building for a few weeks now, as the new season comes ever closer and the Ospreys start to wing their way northwards. Perhaps I should start at the beginning……

Some time before Christmas I met up with Project Leader Tim Mackrill at our favourite coffee house for a general chat (or so I thought) about ‘all things Osprey’. As usual our conversation covered every conceivable aspect of Osprey life and conservation, including news from all over the world. Then – I think it was during our second latté – Tim suddenly said ‘How would you feel about joining the Osprey staff as a part-time Education Officer and co-ordinating all work with schools and colleges?’ I recall a moment of stunned silence, before blurting out an unintelligible string of disconnected phrases which probably included ‘You mean me? Are you sure? I mean yes, I’d love to, thank you, that would be wonderful!’

Well since then, people who know me well will tell you I have been floating around on air, my head definitely up there in Osprey World which I have tried so hard to describe in my diaries over the years. I actually started work – together with colleague and fellow Education Officer Jackie – in early February and have already attended induction and planning meetings and met most of my new colleagues at the Nature Reserve, especially Paul and Kayleigh, the great team responsible for the day-to-day running of the Osprey Project at Lyndon. It has been a truly heart- warming experience to be welcomed by such a friendly, supportive and committed group of people – all united in their passion for the natural world in general, and of course the Ospreys in particular. I’ve loved every minute of it.

Week by week, day by day, the new Wader Scrape hide has risen and been completed, and is already proving a valuable resource in Manton Bay. I’ve watched the hard work involved in fitting the three new cameras on the Manton Bay nest, realised how much habitat work has been completed by the weekly winter work parties, appreciated the refurbishment of the Visitor Centre – and all this, of course, whilst doing what I’ve actually been employed for – informing and (I hope!) enthusing local schools to involve themselves in the Project’s exciting work by hosting a visit from project staff to talk with students, and to sign up for fast approaching World Osprey Week.

I spent one whole day with Anya (Trainee Assistant Warden) learning how to create super-slick Powerpoint shows to WOW school students during our visits. I was a slow learner at first, but thanks for your patience, Anya! Earlier this month we were invited to Oakham School’s Science Guest Night, where we talked to Fifth and Sixth Form students, attended a fascinating lecture on Toxicology and then had supper with fellow guests and students. It was awesome – to revert to ‘student-speak’ for a moment !

Tim Mackrill asked Jackie and me to arrive early for the Volunteers early season meeting last week. We sat enjoying a tasty tea with Tim, Becky, Kayleigh and Sarah and planning the evening ahead, when Tim disappeared and returned with a large cardboard box. Another defining moment : the handing out of the staff shirts and fleeces! A moment of real pride and celebration – an ‘Is this really happening to me?’ experience. I can only liken it to the feelings a sportsman must have when handed his first England cap. I left the room and returned resplendently dressed in my new livery. Needless to say I have hardly taken it off since!

Yesterday (Tuesday March 17th), after a morning visit to Oakham C of E Primary School to advertise approaching World Osprey Week, followed by a meeting with Tim, Jackie and Anya to plan an exciting conference for teachers on Osprey education and all its wonderful spin-offs, I spend the afternoon at the Lyndon Centre with Kayleigh (Osprey Information Officer). I receive instructions on how to work the computers, the till and the coffee machine, and how to show visitors videos, still photos and highlights on the big screen – as well, of course, as the live streaming from the nest. I even take my turn in making tea for everyone! Tim, Lloyd and Dave arrive to put the finishing touches to the new Wader Scrape hide. John has been in another hide all afternoon, expectant and alert as ever, awaiting the first Osprey arrival. No osprey in the bay this afternoon, but he has observed a superb adult summer-plumaged Mediterranean Gull in the bay, and it is duly entered into the log. Lynda has been inducting a new volunteer down in the new hide, and assisting a steady flow of visitors, who return to the Centre full of her praises. During the Osprey season, the volunteers are an absolutely essential part of the Project, and consistently work hard on all aspects of the reserve’s work. I should know – I was one of their number for ten years!

At 5.00pm Kayleigh tells me it’s time to close down the Centre, and takes me through all the procedures, in case one day I have to do it on my own. We linger as long as we can in front of the big screen, hoping against hope that an Osprey might appear on the live streaming from the nest. Not today, despite the increasing sunshine and warmth this afternoon. Just as we are closing down, Lynda arrives back – no Osprey, but a Water Rail in front of the hide was an unexpected bonus! Let’s hope another one arrives and we have a breeding pair there again. Kayleigh is not going home yet – she hurries off down to the hide to join the others, who are still working there in the fading light. I decide to go home – it’s been a long day, but an exciting and often thrilling one. I drive home through the lanes – not the shortest route, but the most relaxing and enjoyable one, a gentle saunter to fit my happy mood.

I am scarcely through the door twenty five minutes later when my ‘phone pings to indicate a text. It’s Tim : ‘Brilliant news – 03 is back at Site B. What a bird!’ I sink into a chair and read it three, four times. After all the trauma of last summer, it is a huge relief. He’s back, he’s back (with apologies to Ted Hughes)

‘Look, Look, He’s back, he’s made it again,

Which means the globe’s still working…….’

Talk about a perfect end to a perfect day…….Don’t think me sad, but by 9.45 I am in bed and in the midst of an idyllic sleep after my wonderful day.

Wednesday March 18th :   and it’s 6.00am. I awake to the sound of a Grasshopper Warbler reeling away on the radio as this morning’s ‘Tweet of the Day’. Still too early for them to arrive, but maybe an Osprey in the Bay today. It’s possible…..

If it’s Wednesday….it must be Uppingham Community College. We are partway through a ten day cycle of visiting local schools, bringing the good news of World Osprey Week to students and teachers alike. Today we are guests at Uppingham Community School – a really good 11 – 16 school just a few miles away – the former school of Anya (who accompanies me today), Becky (Development Officer) and Abigail (Wildskills Member and regular volunteer). We are to see two classes today, courtesy of Geography teacher Mr Redmond, and we soon have the pictures and videos up on the screen, telling them all about these spectacular birds virtually on their doorstep each spring and summer. We end each session with the catchy Osprey Song first performed by the students of Hurst Lodge School in Ascot, and it is so popular that we have to play it through twice, by which time the Year 9 group are joining in (fairly!) tunefully. We are grateful for everyone’s involvement and enthusiasm, and after a photo call from Mr Redmond (attached), we take our leave after a very pleasant morning, Anya back to the Reserve to await more Osprey arrivals, and me…….well, I think I need a little rest! After all, it’s another early start tomorrow for a visit to another school in Oakham!

I hope to continue writing diaries as in previous years, and I want to thank everyone for their kind comments at the end of last season. I’ll still be helping to monitor Site B when the time comes, and I’ll be down at the fantastic new Wader Scrape hide on alternate Sunday afternoons – and probably in another hide on the other Sundays! Pop in and see the Ospreys and the rest of us! As I keep telling myself, and as I hope you can see from this first diary of 2015…….

I am indeed a fortunate man.

*******************************************

(18.3.15)

 

Visit to Uppingham Community College, 18th March 2015

Visit to Uppingham Community College, 18th March 2015

 

 

 

Looking back

Whilst we wait in eager anticipation for the first Osprey to arrive in Manton Bay, here is a recap of last year’s events…

Unfortunately, no chicks were raised in Manton Bay last season, as most of you will know. The unringed female of the past four years, now called Maya, arrived on 17th March, but her long-standing partner, 5R(04), did not return. He is presumed to have come to grief on migration. On 6th April, a four year old Rutland male, 28(10), took an interest in the nest, and Maya accepted him as her new partner. Although only four-years-old and inexperienced, he was learning fast, and a full clutch of eggs were laid. The eggs were laid very quickly after 28 came along, only three days. Normally it takes up to two weeks between mating and egg-laying. Last year, as Maya had been waiting so long for 5R to return, she must have already been in the correct breeding condition. The swift arrival of an egg took 28 by surprise, and to begin with he didn’t quite know what to do with it. He soon got the hang of it though, and was taking his turn at incubating after bringing fish for Maya.

28 brings in a fish

28 brings in a fish

28 looking very comfortable on the eggs

28 looking very comfortable on the eggs

vlcsnap-2014-04-24-12h23m23s99

Domestic bliss

 

Regrettably though, the domestic bliss was spoiled soon after the third egg was laid. Another Rutland male, 33(11), wanted this nest for himself, and he relentlessly and aggressively harassed the pair until he succeeded in chasing 28 away. 33 was only three years old last year and also inexperienced, but he was obviously stronger than 28. This could have been due to 28’s slightly damaged right wing, which may have made him less manoeuvrable in the air. It did not affect his fishing though, nor does it affect his migrations.

IMG_9895---Photo 7 - 33-chasing-28

33 chasing 28

 

Eventually Maya accepted 33(11)’s presence, and when he was on the nest alone he kicked out her eggs. The eggs were not evicted with malicious intent by 33, they just got in the way when he was nest scraping – a natural behaviour for males at the start of the season.

33 on the nest last night after kicking the eggs out

33 on the nest after kicking the eggs out

 

For the rest of the season, Maya and 33 stayed in the Bay together and they gradually formed a pair bond. They continued to add sticks to the nest and defend it from intruders, but no more eggs were laid. We hope that this season things will be different!

Heads will turn...

Maya and 33 formed a strong pair bond

 

Welcome to the show

We’re open! Today, the Lyndon Visitor Centre has opened its doors to the public for the first time since September 2014. A good number of visitors have poured through them to celebrate the beginning of a new season, and perhaps get a glimpse of an Osprey…

The place looks great, if I do say so myself. The Centre is clean, tidy, painted and gleaming, the shop is full to the brim with incredible things to buy, and the new hide is all set up with its comfy new seats and informative interpretation boards. We’re all ready for the new season, we just need some Ospreys!

Our visitors today were hopeful but realistic about the chances of seeing an Osprey, and there have been no sightings today. It is still early though, the earliest we have ever had one back was on 16th March. Last year we were very fortunate that the Manton Bay female, Maya, turned up on her nest the day we opened (17th March)!

When will she arrive this year? We are all very excited and expectant for the arrival of the first Osprey! Don’t forget to enter our competition and have a guess at when the first Osprey will return to Manton Bay.

The Lyndon Centre will now be open 9am – 5pm every day until September. We hope to see you soon!

Here are some photos by Paul Stammers of the Centre and new hide:

Fully stocked shop

Fully stocked shop

Camera 1 - zoom camera with night vision

Camera 1 – zoom camera with night vision

Camera 2 - nice panoramic of the resrvoir

Camera 2 – nice panoramic of the resrvoir

Camera 3 - shoreline camera

Camera 3 – shoreline camera on the T-perch

The interpretation in Waderscrape hide

The interpretation in Waderscrape hide

New luxury benches

New luxury benches

View from the windows

View from the windows

 

Competition time!

Last year we ran a competition at the beginning of the season, asking you all to guess when you think the first Osprey will arrive in Manton Bay. As it was so successful, we’ve decided to do it again this season!

So, the question is: When will the first Osprey arrive in Manton Bay this year?

The Osprey must land on the nest and be verified by a member of staff.

Please guess the date and a specific time, and the closest one will win two vouchers for an Osprey cruise on the Rutland Belle!

Submit your answers either on here or on our Facebook page. Please only guess once, this needs to be fair!

Many thanks, and happy guessing!

Leaving for her first fishing expedition

The Manton Bay female, Maya, arrived back on 17 March last year