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Ring of changes

The astute amongst the webcam-watchers out there may have noticed that the three Manton Bay chicks now sport leg rings! The chicks were ringed this morning, and what a beautiful morning it was! The sun was just beginning to rise over the horizon, and there was not a breath of wind as we launched the boat from the shore behind the Osprey nest. The surface of the crystal-clear water was marred only by the ripples from our boat’s wake, as we sailed serenely to the nest.

5am this morning

5am this morning

 

Maya protested a bit, but she was not overly concerned. She flew around above the bay and intermittently alarm-called, until the deed was done and her chicks were returned to her, safe and sound. The whole process took less than an hour to complete. The equipment was prepared, the boat launched, and a ladder was extended up to the nest, which Tim climbed and brought the chicks down to the boat.

Left to right - S1, S2, S3

Left to right – S1, S2, S3

 

The chicks are absolutely gorgeous! To be so close to them was an indisputable privilege. They have such beautiful feathers, and enchanting deep amber eyes. All three chicks are in perfect health and look fantastic. They were placed in a comfortable tray for a minute or two to settle, then were ringed and weighed one by one. Their ring numbers are S1, S2 and S3. Based on weight and bill size, it has been determined that S1 and S3 are female, and S2 is male.

S1

S1

S2

S2

S2

S2

S3

S3

 

Whilst we were there, Tim took the opportunity to clean the smudge from the wide angle camera! It turned out to be spider-webs. In the picture you can see Maya high above.

Tim cleaning the camera

Tim cleaning the camera

 

Once the chicks had been returned to the nest and we had left, Maya and 33 returned to their respective positions and life went on as normal. A fish came in at around 9 o’clock – a great big roach. 33 took it to the T-perch first, and in the video below you can see him fly past the nest, before alighting on the perch with the still-kicking roach!

33 with roach on T-perch

33 with roach on T-perch

 

About fifteen minutes later, 33 delivered the fish to the nest, and Maya fed the enormous chicks.

33 brings roach

33 brings roach

Feeding on roach

Feeding on roach

 

A couple of Osprey intrusions occurred today, but nothing substantial in terms of disruption. A bit of mantling, that was all!

There is a certain stick that has been bothering Maya for a while now. It sticks up a bit, but is wedged tightly by others, and Maya keeps trying but cannot move it!

Maya attempts to move the stick

Maya attempts to move the stick

 

Due to the hot temperature, the chicks have been lying in the nest panting a lot today. Maya cannot shade them with her body anymore, as they are too big, but there is no need for her to do so now. The chicks are of an age where they can regulate their own temperature, so they do not require Maya to brood them or shade them. Soon they will no longer need her to feed them. Her job is almost done, and she can relax, knowing her chicks are healthy and she and 33 have done an unquestionably excellent job of raising them!

Panting in the sun

Panting in the sun

 

The chicks stood up long enough for us to get some shots of their new rings! And S1 did get a bit energetic and did a bit of flapping!

S2 and S1 rings showing

S2 and S1 rings showing

Hello S2

S2

Wing flapping

Wing flapping

 

Another fish was delivered at around 15:30, which Maya grabbed and fed to the chicks. Well, the two that were interested!

Another fish, 3:30pm

Another fish, 3:30pm

 

And it didn’t end there! An hour later 33 landed on the T-perch with another one! And it was a monster! It took him almost an hour to eventually bring it to the nest, after having his fill.

Yet another fish

Yet another fish

 

Here are a couple of adorable close ups from yesterday evening, as the chicks were all tucked up together for the night!

Snuggled up together

Snuggled up together

Close up

Close up

 

And here’s a middle of the night shot!

Twenty past three in the morning

Chicks on infra-red

 

The next big milestone in the chicks’ lives will be fledging. It won’t be long now, only a couple of weeks! In the interim, they will be doing a lot more wing flapping and will start helicoptering above the nest, getting those wing muscles ready for the day they take to the air… but for now, they can sleep, and enjoy nest-bound life whilst they can!

Sprawled

Sprawled

 

Caught in the light

The heatwave has begun! It has been a lovely hot day today, and temperatures are set to rise in the next few days. The Ospreys have been going about their normal business, and we have seen several fish delivered to the nest today, by the supreme fishing machine that is 33. Unfortunately, no videos could be captured this morning, as the cameras, well the transmitters to be more exact, decided to play up again and we lost the picture for a while. Tim and Lloyd deserve our sincerest thanks for getting it back up and running again!

Fish at 3pm, 29th June

Fish at 3pm, 29th June

Feeding on pike, 29th June

Feeding on pike, 29th June

33 brings another fish

33 brings another fish

Maya grabs its face

Maya grabs its face

Dinner time

Dinner time

 

The chicks seemed to grow in the few hours that the camera wasn’t on! I’m sure that was just my imagination, but there’s no contention that their growth rate is phenomenal. In just a couple of weeks, when they’re seven weeks old and about ready to fly, they will be the size of the adults. They will still look like juveniles, of course, with their buff-tipped feathers and orange eyes. Their adult plumage will appear when they are around 18 months old.

Close up of chick - a beauty indeed

Close up of chick – a beauty indeed

 

We have seen the chicks trying to move sticks about already, and today one of them was seen playing with a clump of dried grass that had been brought in as nest material.

Chick playing with nest material

Chick playing with nest material

 

There is a video captured on Saturday evening that I simply must share. After the day’s activities on Saturday, we stayed at Lyndon a little later, as there was a talk to give and a moth evening to be enjoyed. We watched as 33 brought in yet another fish at around 19:40. The view on the wide angle camera was the best, as the slowly setting sun lit up the nest, illuminating Maya and the chicks, and casting a soft pink glow across the sky. It was beautiful.

Feeding a chick in the fading light, 27th June

Feeding a chick in the fading light, 27th June

 

Unclouded day

It has been a wonderfully warm and sunny day! Hundreds of people have come along to visit us at the nature reserve today, to take part in all of the activities Wild Rutland Day had to offer. It’s not over, either! There is a badger walk, a bat walk and a moth evening all taking place tonight. Also, as I write, my esteemed colleagues Tim and Paul are currently on the Rutland Belle in the middle of the reservoir, hopefully seeing some fishing Ospreys! What a splendidly busy day!

The Ospreys have not felt at all affected by everything that has gone on today. The chicks have been relaxing, lying in the sun, eating fish and flapping about – completely oblivious to the fact that well over three hundred people have sat in the Lyndon Centre and Waderscrape hide and watched them!

As you can see from the videos above, the chicks are getting much better at standing up and walking now, and have a lot more balance. They are walking about more often than shuffling now!

All three chicks on their feet

All three chicks on their feet

All three chicks on the move

All three chicks on the move

Walk around the nest

Walking around the nest

Flapping wings

Flapping wings

 

The chicks have been getting nosier, too, and taking interest in everything around them. In this photo you can see two of them peering intently at something over the side of the nest.

Chicks looking out

What’s down there, then?

 

They must have had a big fish early this morning, as 33 didn’t go fishing until the afternoon. He brought in a nice pike at 13:40, which he caught right in front of Waderscrape!

33 brings a pike

33 brings a pike

Maya with the pike

Maya with the pike

Eating pike

Eating pike

 

One of the chicks tried to have a sneaky bite of the fish – in the video below you can see it trying to pull a fin off! It won’t be long until they learn how to eat the fish for themselves, and the adult birds will be able to deposit fish on the nest and leave the chicks to it.

There were a couple of intrusions today, but nothing that troubled the Ospreys too much. Maya mantled on the nest, but the intrusions came to nothing, and her concern was short-lived.

Intruder about

Intruder about

 

Later on in the afternoon, 33 went fishing again and brought back a lovely one at around 17:30. Maya fed the chicks and all was well with the world.

Fish at 5:30pm

Fish at 5:30pm

 

As if that wasn’t enough, 33 delivered another fish at 18:30! This fish was another pike, which he caught right in front of Waderscrape hide again!

33 delivers another pike!

33 delivers another pike!

 

To round the day off, here is a clip of all the Manton Bay Ospreys on the nest together.

All on the nest together

All on the nest together

 

 

Too soon to know

The oldest chick will be five weeks old tomorrow! Time just seems to fly, and it won’t be long until the chicks do! We’ll be ringing the chicks at around six weeks old, and at ringing we will be able to determine their sex. People have been asking recently if we can tell whether the chicks are male or female yet, and we were talking about it ourselves today. The answer is – no! Not yet, anyway. We could guess, of course, but as we decided today – it’s still too soon to tell. We need to wait until the chicks are weighed, and then we’ll know for sure.

Whatever their gender, all three chicks are growing incredibly fast – even little’un is almost fully feathered! They have been stretching and flapping a lot more recently, and one chick even tried a little jump at one point today! In the next couple of weeks the chicks will become much steadier on their feet, and will gain more control over their wings. They will be flapping away enthusiastically, preparing for the the day they take that leap of faith and fly… But that’s not going to happen just yet, so let’s focus on today. Here’s a video of one of the chicks having a good old flap!

Flapping

Flapping

 

Maya has been bringing lots of sticks in again today, and making sure that nest is just as she likes it!

Maya flying in with a stick

Maya flying in with a stick

Maya landing with the stick

Maya landing with the stick

Maya moving a stick

Maya moving a stick

Maya moving a stick

Just there will do

 

An intruder came over this morning, at about 08:40, and 33 came to the nest and mantled. Maya didn’t seem too bothered, though, and while 33 shouted and made a fuss she just moved a stick about!

Mantling at an intruder

Mantling at an intruder

 

33 brought in a trout at around 11:00, which the chicks enjoyed in a nice, orderly fashion!

Trout

Trout

Orderly queue

Orderly queue

 

As yesterday, he came back for it, ate a bit then returned it later. Maya took it from him and fed the chicks again.

Maya arrives

33 brings the fish back

Feed me

Feed me

 

The next fish, a pike, came along at 16:30, and it only took 33 about five minutes to catch this!

Pike

Pike

Eating the pike

Eating the pike

 

It’s been a lovely day overall, with the warm weather creating the perfect conditions for lying around in a nest, with a nice view and plenty of fish. What a life these Ospreys have!

33 with the chicks

33 with the chicks

 

 

Bring on the sunshine

What a beautiful day – it has definitely felt like summer today! 33 went fishing early this morning again, and the chicks were halfway through what looked like a trout when we switched on the cameras.

Feeding the chicks this morning

Feeding the chicks this morning

 

33 took the remains of the fish off to the T-perch again, as is the usual routine, and then brought it back to the nest a little later on. You can see the camera wobble as Maya flies off the french perch, then she circles round and flies into the nest to join 33. She looked rather wet, and must have recently been for a bath in the reservoir!

33 brings the fish back, chick stretches

33 brings the fish back, chick stretches

 

The chicks weren’t that interested in it, though – they must have had their fill earlier!

The peace was shattered part way through the morning when two intruding Ospreys entered the bay. They didn’t come near the nest, and didn’t act aggressively, they just passed through and left, but they still got shouted at by the resident pair!

A few sticks have been added to the nest today, and it was lovely to see that the chicks tried to help 33 as he positioned one of his sticks!

33 moving a stick

33 moving a stick

I'll help you, Dad

I’ll help you, Dad

 

Something rather funny happened on the nest today – well it made me laugh! It was just after the stick moving episode shown above. 33 was in the middle of the nest, shuffling about in some nest material, then all of a sudden he plonked himself down and just sat there! Maya happily realigned some sticks, two chicks preened and the other watched Mum, while 33 chilled out and had a rest. It was a scene of utter contentment!

33 having a sit down!

33 having a sit down!

 

This afternoon, 33 brought in two fish in quick succession. One was a very small something, and the next one was a larger perch. You can hardly see the fish in the first video, it’s no wonder he had to go out again and immediately catch another one!

Chick standing up

Maya feeds the tiny fish to the only interested chick!

Maya with the third, larger, fish

Maya with the third, larger, fish

 

Wild Rutland Day is fast approaching, it’s this Saturday – check it out here! There will be lots of interesting and exciting things to learn and discover, including an informative talk at 10:45 by our Education Officers, Jackie and Ken, providing an introduction to the Osprey Project and our education work, both here and in Africa!

I hope this sunny weather lasts for Saturday, and also continues into July for our series of guided walks! There is one space left on Tim Mackrill’s evening walk on 1st, and seven on our second guided summer walk on 22nd. Click on the bold links to book your place!

All together

All together

Chilling on the nest

Chilling on the nest

33 with chicks

33 with chicks