Welcome to the Rutland Osprey Project 2015! What an amazing feeling it is to be here once again at the beginning of a new season. There is so much to be excited about!
The team have been busy over the winter months maintaining and improving the reserve at Lyndon. The car park has been tidied, several coppice plots have been re-cut, new dead hedges and willow fences have been erected, and, oh yes, there’s a new hide!
The Osprey-viewing experience is set to be greatly enhanced by the brand new Waderscrape hide. It is everything you could ever want a bird hide to be. Step across the lovely bit of decking at the entrance, and open the door to fabulous views out of glass windows (that open), giant floor to ceiling windows, comfy seats, masses of information and interpretation to read on the walls, a TV at one end showing live images of the privileged view into the Osprey nest, volunteers on hand to answer questions, telescopes to look through, not to mention the oodles of space and that lovely smell of freshly worked wood. It’s an experience not to be missed!
This year we have three cameras with which to view the Ospreys. Yes, three! One is, of course, the all-important view from above, into the Osprey nest. Another shows the nest plus a lovely panoramic of the reservoir behind it, offering a wonderful view of any incoming Ospreys! The third camera is set on the shoreline, and focuses on the T-perch. This way we will be able to see the Ospreys from the Centre when they are not on the nest, as they often sit on that perch and take fish there to eat.
The webcam is now up and running, as some of you may have already noticed. The live online feed will only show the close-up view of the nest (shown below). The ladder is not going to remain against the nest all season, of course. It is only there whilst we sort out the cameras (and fix them should there be problems), and it also helps to deter any naughty nest-nabbers, also known as Egyptian Geese! The ladders will come down well before any Ospreys are expected.
Speaking of which, the first Osprey back last season was the well known 03(97), often the first to return, on 16th March. Maya, the Manton Bay female, was the second Osprey to return to Rutland last year, and she arrived on 17th March. Accordingly, in a couple of weeks we could well see the first Osprey returning to Manton Bay! The anticipation of the return of Maya and 33(11) is palpable, even more so is the desperate hope that this year they will breed, and we’ll have chicks on this nest once again!
We’re keeping tabs on our satellite-tagged female, 30(05). Yesterday her data showed she is still on the beach in Senegal. Given that last year she arrived back in Rutland on 24th March (the first day of World Osprey Week!), and it usually takes her roughly eleven days to make the journey, we expect she’ll be thinking about setting off perhaps this time next week. We’ll keep an eye on her data and announce any changes.
The Lyndon Visitor Centre opens its doors on Saturday 14th March. The shop will be stocked, the cameras will be rolling and we’ll all be waiting with baited breath for an Osprey to land on the nest early. You never know…
So it’s exciting times here at Rutland Water. There’s magic in the air, and soon there’ll be Ospreys in it!