Manton Bay

A bit of a flap

It’s been another beautiful day, and the ospreys have enjoyed relative peace. Fish continue to be delivered to the nest at regular intervals! Yesterday evening at 17:58, 33 added a third fish to his day’s list, and delivered a lovely roach. Then later on he brought a fourth, this time a trout, at 21:20. They ate the roach but didn’t finish the trout, which was then left on the nest overnight.

Incoming roach

Shortly after the trout delivery, there was an intruder in the bay, which took their minds off the fish for a while. Both Maya and 33 were on the nest, mantling over the chicks who lay prone, as their defence strategy is to be still and use their natural camouflage to remain unseen. The intruder was in the area for a few minutes, and must have been circling the nest as the birds kept following it as it flew around them. At one point you can see the intruder in the top left corner of the screen.


Intruder last night

Onto today, and the morning began with some fish swaps. The trout that had been left overnight was taken away by 33 at 07:30. He ate some of this fish and then brought it back to the nest again about an hour later, and Maya then fed some to the chicks.

Flapping has been the order of the day today, and the larger chick has been getting quite good at it. She has had several bouts of wing flapping today, none of them last very long but she is gaining in confidence. The smaller chick has also had a go, but is slightly more wobbly. The feathers on the chicks’ wings are still not complete, and some feather pins are still apparent, but it won’t be long before both of the chicks are exercising fully feathered wings in preparation for fledging! Fledging usually occurs at around seven weeks old, so these two should take to the air in the first week of July.


Flapping again

Here is the smaller chick having a flap this morning. There are a lot more feather pins still evident in this chick’s wings.

Little chick flapping

The peace was interrupted a couple of times today by other ospreys intruding and causing panic, mostly with 33 who always gets more upset than Maya, until the intruders get really close. The first was just after 11:00, and the next just after 13:00. Both times the intruding osprey didn’t come close enough to be caught on camera, but was seen clearly from Waderscrape hide.

Intruder above!

Here’s a funny clip of 33 bringing in a stick! You can see both of the chicks watching him as he comes, then when he lands the stick ends up right on the back of the larger chick, who then quite boldly has an angry peck at him! Then when he steps closer she has another angry swipe and almost grabs his wing. This is clearly a very brazen young osprey, which will stand her in good stead in future.

Angry chick

Biting 33

Finally, here’s another water rail photo, taken by volunteer Jan on this morning’s shift. Thanks for this Jan!




A south coast summer?

If you read yesterdays blog post you will know that S1, one of Maya and 33’s 2015 chicks, has been spending his time in Dorset. Completely coincidentally, Field Officer John Wright was down in Dorset at the start of June and managed to capture this photo of S1 on a nest at RSPB Arne! It wasn’t possible for John to get closer to S1 at the time and he didn’t see the bird in flight, so S1 remained unidentified until yesterday, when Olly Slessor was able to read his leg ring. What is especially lovely is that John last saw S1 in Rutland on May 24th, and he was first seen in Dorset on May 25th – with 2 year olds often roaming far and wide, it is great to know there is not likely to be a gap in our knowledge of S1’s whereabouts.

S1 at Arne (John Wright)

S1 at Arne (John Wright)

This is not the first time a Rutland osprey has spent time near the south coast during the summer. As 2 year olds, both 1J(13) (a young S1 gets a mention in this blog post!) and 06(09) spent time in Hampshire at Fishlake Meadows, before eventually returning to Rutland after a few weeks. It will be interesting to see if S1 sticks around in Dorset, or if he too eventually returns to Rutland. The area around Poole Harbour would be perfect for breeding ospreys – will S1 stay in the area for the rest of the summer? Will he be able to attract a passing female? Will he return to the area next spring? It is all down to chance, but we know it is possible from Nora (a Rutland-fledged female) and Monty’s story at Dyfi! So we will wait and see. Exciting stuff!

There are just over 30 miles between Fishlake Meadows and RSPB Arne

There are just over 30 miles between Fishlake Meadows and RSPB Arne, as the osprey flies!

Meanwhile at Manton Bay it has been a quiet day for our birds, apart from a brief osprey intrusion over the nest this morning. 33 got a bit upset but Maya seemed to remain relaxed.

33 has so far caught 2 fish, a tiny one first thing followed by a good-sized roach later in the morning which lasted our family a good while.

Once again today our chicks have been unlucky victims of their parents clumsiness – this time 33 came in to land with a stick and stood on one chicks head! Happily the chick didn’t seem too phased by the episode and continued sleeping off its last meal.

That’s all for today!

Peregrine Passing

Our osprey family have had a great couple of days, full of fish, and the chicks are looking almost grown up! 33 has continued to set off fishing early in the day, usually bringing in a tiny fish at first light followed by one or two bigger fish slightly later, and another in the afternoon or evening.

On Sunday at lunchtime, our volunteers in Waderscrape reported an intruding osprey over the nest. We looked back over the video, and it was clear 33 was upset – whilst we didn’t see the intruding osprey on film, we did catch a fleeting glimpse of a peregrine in the back of the shot! The peregrine has been spotted regularly in the bay recently, hunting common tern and sand martins, and it was a real treat to see it in the back of shot. It is unlikely our ospreys would consider a peregrine a threat, as peregrines catch their prey in flight, so we are sure 33 was only mantling at the osprey overhead!

We’ve had some good comedy moments with the birds bringing sticks to the nest over the past two days, although our chicks haven’t always looked too impressed by them – particularly when Maya brought a huge stick to the nest this morning and dropped it on the chicks!

We witnessed a sweet moment of family teamwork when one of the chicks had a go at moving a stick with Maya and 33.

Additionally on Sunday 33 seemed to forget the chicks had hatched, settling down on the nest like he was incubating again! He has been spending quite a lot of time on the nest the past two days, particularly at night – last night he was on the nest with Maya and the chicks for around 4 hours!



Family portrait

Family portrait

Here are the fish from this morning – these kept the chicks going for most of the day, with 33 not bringing in another fish until around 4.30pm.

Finally we have some good news to end todays blog – S1, one of Maya and 33’s returnee chicks, has been spending his time on a nest in Dorset! John Wright last saw S1 at Rutland on May 24th – on May 25th an osprey turned up in Dorset. Until today, no one had been able to get an accurate ring reading from the bird, but now thanks to Olly Slessor we know it to be S1! Photos of S1 in Dorset and more information to follow soon.

Sail away

We had an early start today, as this morning we had our first dawn cruise of the season. We met at Whitwell Harbour at 5.45 am to depart 6am, and we were happy to see conditions were perfect for fishing ospreys (although a bit dull and drizzly for humans).

The Rutland Belle ready to go (thank you to Sarah Box for the photo)

The Rutland Belle ready to go (thank you to Sarah Box for the photo)

Ready to spot some ospreys! (photo by Sarah Box)

Ready to spot some ospreys! (photo by Sarah Box)

Almost immediately after setting sail from Whitwell we saw our first osprey, flying near to the dam. It was great to see an osprey so early on in the cruise – whatever happened next, at least we’d had a good view of an osprey!
From then on the cruise just got better and better. We saw ospreys on at least 6 different occasions, and at one point we had 2 ospreys flying nearby, one either side of the boat! Just as we were nearing the end of the cruise and reflecting on what a good show the ospreys had put on, osprey spotting volunteer Sarah noticed a bird flying in the distance – no sooner had she pointed it out that we saw it descend into a dive and hit the water! So not only had we had brilliant views of ospreys in the air, we’d also got to see one in action fishing. Truly wonderful.

All eyes on the ospreys (photo by Sarah Box)

All eyes on the ospreys (photo by Sarah Box)

Just as we were pulling back into Whitwell Bay, volunteer Katie noticed another osprey on the horizon. Overall it was an absolutely brilliant trip which left us all feeling very lucky.

Photo by Sarah Box

Photo by Sarah Box

After the cruise we headed over to Egleton, where Information Officer Paul and his excellent team of volunteers were busy making bacon and egg rolls for everybody who had been on the cruise – delicious and just what we needed after a chilly morning boat ride!

Jan, Margaret and Libby hard at work (photo by Sarah Box)

Jan, Margaret and Libby hard at work (photo by Sarah Box)

Thank you to everyone who joined us on the cruise, and special thanks to osprey spotters Sarah, Sandra and Katie and breakfast helpers Jan, Margaret, Libby, Deb and Emily. We had a great time! Our osprey cruises are booking up fast, click here to book your place on one of our upcoming trips – we have just 8 spaces left on next weeks evening cruise and our next dawn cruise is already fully booked.

Meanwhile in Manton Bay, 33 has been bringing in some great fish! Here are two whoppers he brought in yesterday evening

Despite our early start for the cruise this morning, 33 was the much earlier bird, bringing in fish at 4.35am and 5.24am! The water behind our chicks was lit up beautifully by the sunrise as they had their breakfast.
Sunrise 2

33 brought in another fish, a huge roach, at 9.35am. Our chicks have been extremely well fed today!

Finally, here is an image of Maya and one of the chicks from the middle of last night!

"What are you doing out of bed at this hour?"

“What are you doing out of bed at this hour?”

I wish we could fly

The two Manton Bay chicks are looking absolutely fantastic. They have passed through the “dinosaur” stage of development and their beautiful juvenile feathers are coming through – they actually look like ospreys now! Here they are with Maya, all of them watching 33 as he flew away from the nest.

Watching 33 leave

They are rather big now and can be seen really easily on the wide angle camera, and also from Waderscrape hide, when they sit up or stand.

Chicks on wide angle

Last night 33 delivered yet another fish at 20:24, bringing yesterday’s total to five! This one was a large trout, and some of it was left on the nest overnight.

Sunset fish

At 04:27 this morning, 33 delivered a fresh fish, this time a roach. Maya flew off with this fish, and 33 took the tail end of last night’s trout which was sitting at the edge of the nest. Maya came back with the roach, but the chicks showed absolutely no interest at all, so she ate it herself.

33 brought the tail end of trout back to the nest at 04:57, and this time the chicks showed some interest so Maya fed them the rest.

Another fish was delivered at 15:07, this time it was a perch! 33 is showing a bit more diversity in his catches recently, as opposed to constantly bringing in roach. Perhaps his roach stash has been depleted. Whatever the fish, the important thing is that he is catching them, and he never fails to do that!


Both Maya and 33 have brought in some sticks today – 33 made us laugh again when trying to position this one below!

33 with stick

Then not long after, in he flies with another one. You can see him coming from quite a distance!

33 coming with stick

33 lands

Maya decided that the nest needed some colour, so she came in with a bit of greenery.

Maya with branch

Later there was a lovely moment when Maya and 33 were both rearranging sticks together, and the larger chick seemed to want to help and squeezed between them to see what was going on!

Family photo!

The larger chick (we think probably a she), is quite an inquisitive and bold individual and is interested in everything around her. She has even begun to attempt some wing flapping! It won’t be long before both chicks are doing an awful lot of flapping and helicoptering above the nest. Time flies, and soon the chicks will!

Big chick flapping