Osprey Team Latest

Hello Africa!

We’re here!

It was a very long and exhausting day on Monday, but we made it to Senegal! The flight was on time and we collected our bags and made our way to the ferry crossing at the Gambia river. Our trusty bus driver, Alagie, had already crossed with the bus, and we were to make our way across as foot passengers. Unfortunately we just missed the ferry as we arrived and had to wait for an hour for the next one! Eventually we boarded the boat and settled in for a 40 minute trip. We were very excited to see dolphins on the way, which made our tiredness seem to disappear! We had some great views of the dolphins as the came closer and closer to the boat.

Ferry crossing! (S.Proud)

Ferry crossing! (S.Proud)

 

Exhausted, hungry and excited, we eventually made it to the Keur Saloum, a lovely hotel on the Sine Saloum delta with a pool and terrace. We spent the first five days of the trip there. Our first morning was taken up mostly with wandering the extensive, wooded grounds of the hotel, taking in the many birds, butterflies and monkeys that we saw.

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Veranda (K.Brookes)

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Green vervet monkey (K.Brookes)

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Woodland birding (K.Brookes)

 

On several occasions we went out on a little wooden boat looking for ospreys in the Sine Saloum delta, including potentially 32(11) who we found winters here. One day we spent all day in that little wooden boat. We went all the way to the Ile des Oiseaux, where we had a great view on approach of at least six ospreys all together on the shore, eating fish. We had a short walk along the shore to see the birds better, and then headed back to the boat and onto our next stop, which was lunch! We moored up on a lovely sandy beach and ate a picnic lunch on the shelter of a thatched canopy. We visited the island twice and sailed all the way around it, seeing dozens of ospreys sitting on perches, eating fish and flying in and out. We hoped that we would see male osprey 32(11) who we found in this area last year. He’s quite a nervous bird, which bodes well for his survival, but means he flies off as soon as boats draw near. However, we did manage to get a view of him and his blue ring one day!

 

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Lunch (K.Brookes)

In the boat! (C.Ditchburn)

In the boat! (J.Wright)

On the beach (S.Box)

On the beach (S.Box)

Beach (S.Proud)

Beach (S.Proud)

Juvenile male osprey amongst pink backed pelicans (J.Wright)

Juvenile male osprey amongst pink backed pelicans (J.Wright)

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Thanks to Chris Ditchburn we have these great maps showing where we travelled on our three different boat trips!

Boat trip one

Boat trip one – 16.9 miles

Boat trip two - 38.9 miles

Boat trip two – 38.9 miles

Boat trip three

Boat trip three – 31.1 miles

 

On another day we visited a woodland site, where we had a great walk up a sandy track looking out for all the birds in the trees and shrubs, of which there were many! Highlights include yellow weavers, a bearded barbet, Abyssinian roller, yellow-fronted tinkerbird and red-cheeked cordon bleu.

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(K.Brookes)

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Abyssinian roller (K.Brookes)

 

On two separate afternoons we headed out to a nearby lake, which was great for both birds and insects! There were several species of dragonfly, some butterflies, plus a giant kingfisher, pearl-spotted owlets, fire finches, dark-chanting goshawk and several ospreys fishing!

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Another great sighting was when we were back at the hotel grounds and were treated to a superb view of a skink! It was sitting quite happily in the undergrowth, not worried at all about the cameras that were pointed at it!

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Skink (K.Brookes)

 

We’ve had a great time in Senegal and tomorrow we are off to the Gambia again! Look out for the next update next week!

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Lunch! (S.Proud)

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Sunset (K.Brookes)

Moonlight on the river (S.Box)

Moonlight on the river (S.Box)

Jetting off in January

Happy new year everyone! Thank you all for your support in 2016, and we hope that you continue to follow the Rutland Osprey Project in 2017.

In terms of the osprey project, the first thing that the new year brings is our annual trip to West Africa! The osprey team will be escaping the cold of the British winter and flying to Gambia on Monday 9th January for a ten day trip.

We will not be travelling far enough north to see 30(05) this time, however, we hope to see both 5F and 32, two Rutland ospreys we were lucky enough to see last January. In particular, finding 32’s wintering spot was a brilliant and unexpected thrill, as we had no idea at the time that he would be there! Click here for more information about the day we found him.

Our trip will take in some of the best sites for ospreys in Gambia and Senegal, and we are hoping to see plenty of other ospreys in addition to the Rutland birds we know about. Ospreys from several different countries were spotted last year, and John will be on hand with his telescope to read as many ring numbers as he can in order to learn more about osprey wintering distributions.

We will also be visiting several schools that are involved in the Osprey Flyways Project, and distributing Ken Davies’ excellent children’s books!

We’ll be keeping the website updated with news of our trip and photographs whilst we are there. Keep an eye on the website for the latest news!

5F

5F

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Another Sighting!

Another sighting!

We have some more wonderful news – another Rutland osprey chick from this season has been sighted! Osprey 2AB is a male chick who fledged this year from a nest in the Rutland area. He was spotted at the Somone Lagoon – an area in Senegal that the Rutland osprey team visited last season!

Unfortunately we don’t have a photograph of the bird himself, but here is his location on a map.

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So far that’s two Rutland osprey chicks from the 2016 season who have been spotted elsewhere, 2AB in Senegal and 2AA in Portugal. 2AA is still in the same area in Portugal, on the Rio Tajo, or River Tagus, near Lisbon, which is clearly a good place to be. Here is a recent photograph of him, taken by Armando Marques.

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Contrary to what the ring numbers may imply, these two juveniles were not from the same nest, but from two different nests in the Rutland Water area. For some reason the rings were not used in chronological order this year! 2AA is the son of 28(10), the lovable male osprey who attempted to breed with Maya in Manton Bay in 2014, and was chased away by 33(11). 28 has been breeding now for two years, and has raised a total of three chicks. 2AB is one of 5N(04)’s chicks, a well-known female osprey who first bred in Manton Bay in 2007. She is one of the legendary 03(97)’s many daughters, and has raised a total of 18 chicks in her ten years of breeding.

It’s brilliant to get reports of Rutland ospreys on their migration or wintering grounds, and we rely on sightings such as this to know where our birds are, as we cannot put GPS transmitters on all of them. Knowing that two juveniles from this year are safely settled for the winter is great news, and we hope these two will return in a couple of years!

Currently, Field Officer John Wright is out in Senegal doing surveys into the population of ospreys in the area. He has already seen some Rutland ospreys, such as 06(09) whose wintering location we were informed of last winter by Rafa Benjumea. Click here for more information.

John will be sending updates of his travels as and when he is able to do so, and we will be sure to keep the website updated with the information he sends!

Watch this space!

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06(09) last winter

 

 

Tree huggers

Yesterday and last week the work party team at Lyndon were working hard on the reserve once again. Last Monday was a perfect day to be working outdoors on a beautiful nature reserve – this photograph by Sarah Box really shows how frosty, crisp and bright the day was!

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(Sarah Box)

 

The team have been busy recently working on an area of the reserve to the right of the Lyndon centre, coppicing sections and clearing either side of the track that leads to Swan hide. One of the tasks was to recoppice an area of small hazel. This is now complete, with all the coppice stools protected by chicken-wire, to protect the new shoots from being nibbled by squirrels, rabbits and muntjac deer! This area of hazel will now be able to regenerate slowly, and the extra light afforded to the woodland floor will allow plants to flower in the ground layer.

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Protective fences around coppice stools (Photo by Roy Edwards)

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(Photo by Sarah Box)

 

There were also a lot of tangled, overgrown trees and shrubs in this section of the reserve, and the team did a great job of getting in there and tidying it up a bit! We untangled intertwined brambles, and branches of trees that were growing too close together. The densely packed trees were thinned out to enable proper growth, and any unsafe or overhanging material was removed. The piles of brash and debris from this work was moved away from the sides of the track, and a dead hedge was constructed at the back of one of the coppice plots. Some of the smaller material was thrown onto the fire, and the bigger, straight(ish) bits were used to make the stakes to build the wire fences, and other bits will be used as stakes for hedgelaying and willow weaving.

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(RE)

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(SB)

 

Now, these work parties are not just about hard work, although that plays a big part, of course. Mondays at Lyndon are also about having fun! This Monday was the last work party before Christmas, so we made sure there were crackers, mince pies, a Christmas cake, Christmas jumpers and silly Christmas hats!

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(RE)

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What is Paul showing Barbara? (SB)

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Jan’s Christmas cake! (SB)

 

We love the work we do, and the environment we do it in. Often conservationists are referred to as tree huggers, which some find derogatory. Well we say why not?! We love trees so let’s hug ’em!

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Kayleigh & Maureen showing a bit of love to an ash tree (SB)

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No tree is too small to be hugged! (SB)

 

Whilst some were busy hugging trees, others preferred, erm, sitting in old troughs…!

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Paul Stammers in a trough (SB)

 

It can never be said that we don’t have a good time!

Thank you sincerely to every single one of you for the time and effort you’ve all put in at these work parties, we really enjoy them and your hard work is massively appreciated and makes a huge difference to the reserve. Thanks also to Sarah and Roy for the photos, Jan for the cakes and Paul for the soups!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas! We’ll see you again in the new year.

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“I really want to hug this…” (SB)

 

 

 

Clearing the way

The Lyndon work party team were out in force again on Monday! It was a beautiful cold, bright day, the end of autumn slowly leaking into winter. The leaves have almost all fallen, the last few clinging vainly onto frost-covered branches. It was a perfect day for carrying out a bit of woodland management work!

The volunteers kept warm chopping small hazel and dragging the smaller bits to the fire, which was also a great way of keeping warm! Many of the thicker stems were cut into lengths suitable for use as stakes, and some of these stakes were then used to build wire fences around the hazel stumps. This is a precaution intended to prevent rabbits and deer nibbling the new shoots, which is detrimental to the subsequent regrowth of the coppice stools. Other stakes will be used for hedgelaying and willow weaving on other projects around the reserve.

The cleared area looks fantastic now that there is more space and light, and the view is improved too!

Thank you very much to Sarah Box for the following photographs.

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The team are incredibly hard working and have accomplished a lot of tasks in recent weeks on the Lyndon reserve. Some other work that has been completed recently includes trimming the hedge and the entrance archway around the picnic area, clearing the willow regrowth in the front meadow, and creating a dead-hedge along the path to Teal hide, using material from the adjacent recently coppiced area.

Here are some photographs of the workers! Thanks to Sarah Box for these.

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