We are approaching the time of year when, one by one, our Ospreys will start to leave us. Generally, Ospreys begin their autumn migration in late August or early September. Being more specific is difficult, due to the changeable nature of such things, as is always the case when it comes to the behaviour of wild animals! The birds don’t stick to the same dates each year, and we have had migration dates ranging from mid-August to mid-September.
It will be interesting to see when our Ospreys leave this year, especially the Manton Bay pair. It will also be quite sad, as it always is, to see the Ospreys go. Females normally leave first, followed by their juveniles, and the males usually remain at the nest until the rest of their family has left, and they have no chicks to provide fish for. However, it has occasionally been known, unsurprisingly, for Ospreys to stray from this widely-held belief! For example, in 2009 the two Site B juveniles migrated before both of the adults, in 2012 03(97) left before one of his chicks, and last year two of the Manton Bay juveniles left before the female.
Last year, the Site B female had already left us by now – she began her migration on 8th August! According to records, it is normal for her to leave that early. This year she is still with us today, as I write. We believe she may stay longer this year, as her role has differed slightly this season due to 03(97)’s injury, and the resulting necessity for her to provide the juveniles with fish. Therefore it is possible she may be the one to wait to leave until the young have migrated. We will see.
In contrast to the early departure of the Site B female last year, we have had Ospreys that have remained in Rutland until well into September. The latest migration date I can find is 16th September. This means that, in all likelihood, all or at least most of our Ospreys will have departed by the time we celebrate the success of the season at the Osprey Ball on 19th September, where we shall drink to their safe journeys!
Currently, all of our Ospreys are still with us. 33(11) and Maya remain in Manton Bay, steadfastly defending their nest. As you can see in the photographs below, 33(11) looks very settled on his nest, and will probably be unwilling to leave it at all!