Manton Bay

Wet weather

There was no sign of any sun today, only an endless band of rain! The poor ospreys were hunched up on the nest for most of the day, attempting to stay out of the rain and wind.

In a line

It’s fair to say they looked rather miserable, but 33 cheered them up by bringing in dinner!

At one point today it was lovely to see that T6, the largest of the three, stood over the smallest, T8, who appeared to be sheltering under his big sister!

T8 sheltering under T6

Understandably, the juveniles were not all that active today. However, they still found some motivation to do just a little bit of wing exercising. T8 got quite enthusiastic about it this afternoon, and was jumping up and down.

T8

 

 

 

Wind in your wings

The day began promisingly with some sunshine! During the morning the juveniles all had a go at exercising their wings, aided by the breeze, which seems to encourage them! Here is a video of T8.

33 delivered a large trout just before eight this morning, and it was lay half-eaten in the nest for most of the day. The chicks each had a nibble on it as it once or twice, then Maya came along and grabbed it for herself. As soon as she did she was immediately surrounded by all three juveniles, whose instincts told them that Mum was holding food and might feed them!

She didn’t feed any of them to begin with, and a couple lost interest quickly. T6 persevered though, and eventually Maya began to feed her. The chicks are all old enough to eat for themselves, but clearly are happy to be fed occasionally! It is easier for them, and the instinct is still in Maya to feed them. Last season she was even seen feeding them after they had fledged.

When T6 had had enough, she swapped places with T8, who had patiently waited his turn. When T6 moved he shuffled forward to sit by Maya and be fed.

When the youngsters are well fed they are calm and easy-going about the food in the nest, but if all three were hungry it might be a different story when fish are delivered! We’ve seen that, when they have fledged, they tend to become more boisterous with food, competing with each other for it and trying to be the first to grab it when it comes to the nest. Each young osprey has its own personality of course, and some may be bolder than others.

T8 again

T8 being fed

 

 

 

In a flap

Now that the chicks are six weeks old, they are going to be doing a great deal of wing flapping and helicoptering over the next week, in preparation for fledging. There was quite a lot of energetic flapping occurring today, and even a bit of jumping up and down! It was T7 doing most of it this morning, then later on T6 had a good flap, whilst holding onto the nest material with her talons.

T6 flapping

T6 flapping

 

We’ve seen the chicks eating fish by themselves a few times now, the first time it was witnessed was just before they were five weeks old. Today it was T6 who took the initiative with the rather large trout that 33 delivered. Maya wasn’t there at the time, so 33 left the fish on the nest and flew off, leaving the chicks to it. They didn’t really seem that hungry or interested, at first T8 had a little nibble, but T7 was more interested in flapping. After a while T6 got stuck in.

33 with chicks

33 with chicks

 

One of the chicks, T7, did have a bit of a problem with a piece of fish skin a few days ago, she couldn’t seem to work out how to eat it! The skin is quite tough, and when Maya feeds the chicks she usually pulls the best, fleshy bits off for them and eats the difficult bits like the skin herself, so they are not used to it yet.

All in a row

From the left – T8, T7, T6

 

 

 

Give me a ring

Over the past few days we have been lucky to host a special guest at Rutland Water from all the way across the Atlantic – Alan Poole, world-renowned osprey expert and author of “Ospreys: A Natural and Unnatural History” has spent some time with the team at the Osprey Project! Whilst here, in addition to learning about the project and seeing some ospreys in England, he gave an interesting talk to our enthusiastic team of osprey volunteers. This talk included details of the decline and subsequent recovery of the osprey populations in Eastern North America that he researched for his book.

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Alan Poole with young osprey (TM)

 

Fortunately, Alan’s visit coincided with ringing time. Chicks were ringed at two nests last week, one of which was Manton Bay. You will surely have noticed that the three handsome juveniles are now adorned with their bright blue leg rings. They were fitted with these early on Friday morning by the team. The ring numbers are T6, T7 (both female) and T8 (male).

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T8 and T6 (JW)

T8 and T7 rings

T8 and T7 rings

 

All three chicks are very healthy and in excellent condition. They are now six weeks old and will be ready to fledge in about a week to ten days! In preparation for this they will begin flapping their wings a lot to strengthen them, they have already been seen attempting to do this. You can see the chicks flapping and much more in Dave Cole’s latest excellent video, see below!

Flapping

T7 flapping

 

 

 

Osprey, camera, action!

Over the past few weeks, we have seen so much action from the ospreys in Manton Bay. The chicks have grown from tiny hatchlings to handsome five-week-old juveniles, fed on a diet of fish from 33, who has frequently caught fish in the bay itself, right in front of the hides! We get to see a lot of these occurrences on the live camera, such as 33 delivering fish, Maya feeding the chicks, and each step of their rapid development. However, there are some things that can only be experienced by visiting the nature reserve itself – Waderscrape and Shallow Water hides overlook the osprey nest and can be accessed from the Lyndon Reserve. The following photographs by Field Officer John Wright demonstrate some of the exciting things that have been happening in Manton Bay recently!

Female drinking

Female drinking

Female drinking

Female drinking

Female washing feet

Female washing feet

33 diving

33 diving

Male 33 hitting water

Male 33 hitting water

33 with Tench

33 with Tench

Male 33 bringing a Tench

Male 33 bringing a Tench

Male 33 bringing Tench

Male 33 bringing Tench

33 diving

33 diving

33

33

33 with Pike

33 with Pike

33 bringing Pike

33 bringing Pike

Manton Bay

Manton Bay

Nest

Nest

Manton Bay from Shallow Water hide

Manton Bay from Shallow Water hide

Cloudy skies

Cloudy skies

Mallard chasing 33

Mallard chasing 33

Mallard chasing 33

Mallard chasing 33

Manton Bay pair

Manton Bay pair

Feeding chicks

Feeding chicks

Female bringing stick

Female bringing stick

Dive!

Dive!

33 bringing Pike

33 bringing Pike

33 with Pike

33 with Pike

Female

Female

Trout

Trout

Full nest

Full nest

Big chicks

Big chicks

Chick flapping

Chick flapping

Sleeping adults

Sleeping adults

33(11)

33(11)

Atmospheric distance shot

Atmospheric distance shot

Common terns

Common terns

Common terns

Common terns