As you’ll know if you’ve been watching the webcam, the Manton Bay chicks are continuing to develop at an amazing rate. The oldest two chicks are six weeks old on Sunday, meaning that they could be on the wing within a fortnight. The Site B youngsters are similarly well-advanced and will probably be taking to the air just a few days after their compatriots at Manton Bay.
Excitingly, we now know that there are at least another seven chicks in three other nests (all situated on private land) in the Rutland Water area.
At Site N, 5N(04), who has been breeding in Rutland since 2007, has two chicks with 01(09). Having lost her mate, 09(98) in the autumn of last year, it is excellent that 5N has paired up with the young four-year old male and is breeding once again; 01 certainly seems to have taken to fatherhood very well.
Meanwhile, another four year-old male is breeding at Site O. 03(09) paired up with the metal-ringed Scottish female who first bred at Site O in 2009, last summer, but his inexperience and late arrival meant that the female did not lay eggs. This spring it was a different story; 03 returned much earlier and the pair now have three very healthy chicks in the nest. These three chicks are fourth generation Rutland Ospreys – their great grandfather is 03(97) at Site B! A real sign that the Rutland population is now self-sustaining.
If breeding attempts were expected at Site N and Site O, our fifth pair, was most certainly not. In mid-April two three-year-old birds, male 11(10) and female 25(10) paired up at another nest on private land, Site C. This is a nest that has been used once before – by a pair of translocated birds in 2003. Like the other returning three year-olds, we thought that 11 and 25 would spend their summer wandering around Rutland and perhaps exploring further a field. Not these two though. 25 laid eggs in late April and they now have at least two chicks in the nest. There is possibility of a third, too, but we won’t know for sure until the chicks are a bit bigger. Whatever the case, it is exceptional that two young first-time breeders have produced chicks.
This all means is that we have at least 13 chicks in five nests, making 2013 a record year. The next few weeks will be crucial at all the nests. Fledging is always a dangerous time for the youngsters, but all being well we will have a more young Ospreys heading off to Africa by late August than ever before. When you add in that translocated male 11(98) has chicks in the Glaslyn valley in North Wales for the ninth successive summer and that 11(10)’s sister, 12(10) is breeding at Cors Dyfi, you really begin to realise how successful the project is becoming.
We’ll have more news from the off-site nests, a bit later in the summer but for the time being check out our who’s who of Rutland Ospreys by clicking here.