Manton Bay

Let her go

Yesterday, the Lyndon Visitor Centre closed its doors to the public for the final time in 2015. The Ospreys had already left, and there is now no denying that the end of the season is upon us. Whilst we all feel a bit teary at the end of the season, there is no cause to be sad, as life does not stop when the Ospreys leave, and we can always look back on what an amazing season it has been.

Thanks must go out to everyone who is involved in the Osprey Project, both staff and volunteers, for all their hard work, commitment and dedication throughout the season. If I started writing names, there would be an enormous list, so I won’t, but you know who you are – thank you.

It goes without saying that we could not function without our team of volunteers, who monitor the Ospreys from arrival to departure. Every year, at the end of the season, we have a get-together for all of the Osprey volunteers in order to thank them for their efforts. Last night, we hosted our volunteers’ party for 2015! It was a super evening, and a good time was had by all. There was a fish and chip supper, a light-hearted quiz, and last but not least, a little video that we put together of the Manton Bay highlights to music! Because this video was enjoyed so much, we thought we should share it here on the website, so it can be watched by all! We hope you enjoy it!

The Lyndon Centre may be closed, but work will not cease over the winter – there is much to do to keep the reserve running and prepare for next season. Keep an eye on the website, as we will keep updating it, albeit on a more infrequent basis, throughout the winter. Many thanks to all our visitors, and followers on the website. The Lyndon Centre will re-open its doors on Saturday 12th March 2016 – we’ll see you next year!


Summer of love

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s quite sad at this time of year with no Ospreys. However, what we can do is look back at the season and remember it fondly! After the unfortunate events in Manton Bay last year, we are thrilled that chicks were raised successfully on the Lyndon Nature Reserve once again – 33 did an absolutely superb job of raising chicks for the first time, alongside Manton Bay’s experienced female, Maya, who was again able to do what comes naturally – and she does it very well! Maya has now raised 14 chicks in total over her five years of breeding. The antics of her most recent brood have been immensely entertaining, and S1, S2 and S3 gripped the hearts of many.

With this in mind, and as I promised yesterday, we have created a video of the Manton Bay 2015 highlights! We picked out some of the best bits of footage that we’ve recorded throughout the season, from the return of Maya and 33 on 6th April, to the antics of the juveniles after they fledged! The video is accompanied by subtitles, to narrate the story of the season. If you visited the Osprey Stand at Birdfair, or have visited the Lyndon Centre in the past few days, you may have already seen this film. If so, we hope you enjoy watching it again, and if not, here it is!

Don’t forget, the Lyndon Visitor Centre will remain open until Sunday 13th September, so there is still time to visit us to chat about Ospreys and see the other delights that the reserve has to offer.

You can join us to celebrate the success of the 2015 season at our Osprey Fundraising Dinner and Dance. Click here for more details! 


Since you’ve been gone

It’s been a lovely day at Lyndon today, with a little bit of late summer sunshine – just what we need! This weather is perfect for migrating Ospreys, and we hope the elements are being kind to our satellite-tagged Osprey, 30(05), as she flies solidly southwards through northwest Africa. We are still waiting for the latest batch of data from 30’s transmitter, but we know she is making brilliant progress. Keep your eyes on the news as we follow 30’s remarkable journey to Senegal!

As Tim commented, it is strange to be at Lyndon with no Ospreys. They are the identity of this reserve, and a huge part of our lives for over five months, and it feels oddly empty without them. We go through these feelings every year – it never gets any easier! However, soon, the autumn and winter take on their typical regularity, and it becomes normal not to have Ospreys. Then we eagerly await the excitement of March and April 2016, when the adults are set to return!

The end of the season comes with the satisfaction of knowing it has been magnificent. Everything just went perfectly in Manton Bay – we are so immensely happy that Maya and 33 both returned this year and bred successfully. Last year emphasised the fact that we cannot take anything for granted. We hope you will fondly remember the great memories this season has provided. We will be uploading a highlights video in the near future, but until then you can always look back through the archive updates to re-read the blogs and re-watch the videos!

Whilst we might miss the Ospreys, others relish the fact that they have gone. This photo shows that it doesn’t take long for other lodgers to assume possession of the Osprey nest!

The Egyptian Geese wasted no time!

The Egyptian Geese wasted no time!


Despite the lack of Ospreys, the Lyndon Nature Reserve has a lot more to offer! At this time of year, Shallow Water hide is brilliant place to watch waders, particularly with the water levels being so low. The exposed mud and silt is a rich feeding ground for wading birds, and recent sightings include Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Ruff and even a Great White Egret or two. Lyndon will remain open until Sunday 13th September. Come and enjoy what we have to offer while you can!

The season may be over, but this season deserves to be seen out in style. Therefore, on 18th September we are hosting a fundraising dinner to celebrate this year, and the 100th chick! By then, we will also be able to celebrate the safe arrival of the 100th chick’s Mum, 30(05), to her wintering grounds! There are still a few tickets available – click here for more details!


Creatures of habit

It’s been a strange day at Lyndon today. As you’ll probably have guessed if you have been watching the webcam, Manton Bay is now devoid of Ospreys. As Kayleigh reported earlier in the week, S3 headed south on Wednesday morning and was quickly followed by 33 that lunchtime. With all of her family heading south, Maya followed suit yesterday morning. She headed east from Manton Bay shortly after 10am and hasn’t been seen since. It all means that there is a rather empty feel to Rutland Water; Manton Bay is full of life with waders such as Ruff and Greenshank patrolling the shoreline and flocks of Gadwall and Teal building-up, but it just isn’t the same without the Osprey family. Having watched their every move for the past five months, it seems strange that we don’t know where they are now. There is every chance, though, that all of the family will have now crossed the English Channel into France. We wish them well on their incredible journey. We should also say a huge thank you to Kayleigh for her wonderful blogs this summer.

We may not know where the Manton Bay family are, but there is one Rutland Osprey that we can follow throughout the autumn and winter. The latest data from her satellite transmitter shows that by 5pm on Wednesday evening, 30(05) had reached Andalucia in southern Spain.

With the first full batch of migration data now in, we know that 30 left her nest shortly after 9am on Monday morning (31st August). Remarkably this was exactly the same as autumn 2014; almost to the minute. The weather on Monday was poor for migration (rain and low cloud) but it did not stop this experienced navigator setting out on her tenth autumn migration. During the course of the morning 30 made steady progress south, and by 1pm she was already south of Bath. An easterly wind resulted in her drifting further to the west than autumn 2014, but by the time she set-off across the English Channel from Portland Bill she had begun to compensate for this westerly drift. At 3pm she was half way across the channel, 85 kilomteres west of the corresponding position (at exactly the same time) on her 2014 journey. She skirted to the east of the Channel Islands and reached the Normandy coast at 5pm; three hours after passing Portland Bill. She continued flying until 8pm when she was perched close to a lake in the town of Craon in Pays de la Loire. She had flown just under 600km from Rutland Water and, although we do not know exactly where she roosted, she was now just 25km west of her 2014 flight path.

30's first day of migration was very similar to her flight on the same day in 2014

30’s first day of migration was very similar to her flight on the same day in 2014

30 must have flown further south on the night of 31st August because by 7am next morning she was 170km further south-west, just to the north of La Rochelle. The weather must have been good for migration because she maintained the same south-westerly heading over Ile de Re and then out across the Bay of Biscay. Ospreys are powerful flyers and a flight across the open sea is not the barrier it is to other species – such as Honey Buzzards – which are far more reliant on thermals to aid their journey. By 2pm 30 had completed a 350km flight across the bay of Biscay at altitudes ranging between 200 and 500 metres. Excitingly, she made landfall over the Urdaibai Estuary, where Roy Dennis has translocated Scottish Ospreys for the past three summers. Our friends at the Urdaibai Bird Center have also been closely involved in the Osprey Flyways Project and World Osprey Week, so it was exciting that 30 paid them a (brief) visit!

30 flew 350km across the Bay of Biscay before arriving at the Urdaibai estuary

30 flew 350km across the Bay of Biscay before arriving at the Urdaibai estuary

Unai Egia, the music teacher at Urretxindorra school, situated a few kilomoetres from Urdaibai, wrote a wonderful song about Osprey migration two years ago. Click here to watch the music video (and read the lyrics) of the song, performed by students at Montorre and Urretxindorra schools. The song seems very apt given 30’s flight this year.

Urdaibai would have been an excellent place for 30 to rest for a few hours, but she was clearly determined to continue her migration. During the course of the afternoon and early evening she flew another 311km before eventually settling to roost in a forested area 45km south of Valladolid. During the course of her day’s flight she had covered a staggering 831km.

By first light next morning 30 had moved into open field just over 1km from her roost site, and may even have caught a fish in nearby Lavajo Rabiosa. By 9am, though, she was already 20km south and, like the previous day, clearly determined to press on. By 2pm she had covered 148 kilometres at altitudes of up to 2700 metres. Conditions must have been good for migration because she flew another 149 kilomteres in the next three hours; reaching northern Andalucia at 5pm, with the Sierra Morena mountains prominent on the horizon. This meant that, less than 60 hours after leaving her nest site, 30 had flown an amazing 1728km.

30 flew over 1700km on her first three days of migration. Red line is her 2014 flight for comparison.

30 flew over 1700km on her first three days of migration. The red line is her 2014 flight for comparison.

30’s transmitter is on a three day cycle, so we should receive the next batch of data over the weekend. If the first three days of migration are anything to go by, she should be flying south through Morocco by now. Watch out for an update in the next few days.

Don’t forget that you can follow 30’s migration on your own copy of Google Earth by following these simple instructions. 

Time to go

We have some exciting news – 30(05), our satellite-tracked female, has begun her autumn migration! She set off on Monday 31st August, at roughly 10:00, and in just two days is already in Spain! Her location as of 12:00 today was roughly 75 miles (120km) west of Madrid. We will have more detailed information to share at the weekend, including maps, but for now it’s great to know she’s on her way!

30 is a very well-known Osprey, due to our ability to follow her migrations. It was thanks to the data from her tracker that some of the team were able to locate 30 on her wintering grounds last year in Senegal. 30 was unfortunate last year and the year before, in that she did not manage to find a mate and breed, after the failure of her previous partner to return. We were very happy this season that 30 found a new partner and successfully raised two chicks. In fact, it was fitting that 30 was the parent of the 100th Rutland chick! 

30(05) 30(05)'s chicks                                   30(05)                                                              30(05)’s chicks


Don’t forget, you can join us to celebrate the fledging of 30’s child by clicking here!

In Manton Bay, the latest news is that S3 has gone! She has not been seen 08:00 this morning. The weather has been pretty reasonable today, with a good north-westerly wind – an ideal day to begin a southward migration. 33 and Maya remained in the bay together all morning, then at 12:00, 33 disappeared. We will have to wait and see if he returns this evening. If he doesn’t, then Maya is the last remaining Manton Bay Osprey of 2015.

Keep your eyes on the news to find out what happens! There is still time to visit the Lyndon Centre before the last Osprey leaves!

S3 on the nest - what a beautiful scene

The last picture of S3