Where’s 28?

We were hoping that things would get back to normal in Manton Bay today, but sadly it hasn’t happened. Apart from one possible sighting early this morning, 28(10) has been absent all day. It would seem that 33(11)’s unrelenting aggression on both Thursday and yesterday means 28 is extremely reluctant to return.

We have now had a chance to look back through the monitoring notes kept by project volunteers in Waderscrape hide and it makes for worrying reading. The eggs were uncovered for more than 90 minutes on Thursday and for over two-and-a-half hours yesterday. When you consider that under normal circumstances incubating Ospreys rarely leave their eggs exposed to the elements for more than a few minutes each day, this is a significant period of time. Sadly it will almost certainly result in the eggs failing to hatch.

33(11) appears to have driven 28(10) away from the Manton Bay nest

33(11) appears to have driven 28(10) away from the Manton Bay nest

Ironically, today has been much quieter than Thursday and Friday. Maya has left the eggs uncovered for a total of 45 minutes in order to see-off 33, but otherwise she has sat resolutely on the nest. However, having not fed since Thursday morning, she must be getting very hungry. If 28 fails to return then she will have no choice but to leave the eggs in order to go fishing. A few people have asked whether we could intervene by putting a fish close to the nest, but this is unlikely to help. Without a male to share incubation duties with, Maya would still have to leave the eggs uncovered in order to eat the fish. As hard as it is to watch, there is very little we can do to help.

With 28 clearly no match for 33, the most likely scenario now is that 33 will usurp the older male at the nest. How quickly this will happen is difficult to say. Incubating females have a very strong bond to both their mate and eggs, but if 28 continues to remain absent, then 33 may eventually be accepted by Maya. That said, 33 won’t incubate the existing eggs, and although females do occasionally lay further eggs if their first clutch is lost early in the season, we don’t think that this will happen in this case. It is far more likely that 33 and Maya will form a pair-bond and then return to breed together next spring. They should, however, remain in Manton Bay for the remainder of the summer.

Although 33 has been incredibly aggressive, we have been surprised at how easily 28 has been kept away from the bay. As Dave Cole’s latest film shows, prior to the arrival of 33, the two birds were very settled at the nest.

It is likely that 28′s damaged right wing hasn’t helped him. 33 seems much more powerful in the air, and that may be due to the injury that 28 sustained sometime between leaving Rutland Water as a juvenile in 2010 and returning as a sub-adult two years later.

We have no previous experience of seeing a breeding male driven away from his own nest; and so there is no way of knowing exactly what will happen. It could be that 28 will mount a fight-back, but at the moment that doesn’t seem likely. All we can say is that we’ll keep you up to date over the coming days.


Ken’s Diary

Whilst we are worrying about the fate of the Manton Bay nest, it is nice to know that things are going well at other nests in the area. 03(97) and his mate are settled at Site B and have been incubating for two weeks now. Ken Davies, a dedicated volunteer, has kindly written an account of his monitoring shift at Site B on 15 April. Read and enjoy!

One month into the Rutland Osprey season, and my first lone shift at Site B. A glorious early spring morning, still a nip in the air, but the promise of some warming sunshine later. Lambs, a few weeks old already, lie with their mothers enjoying the sun, but jump up as I approach. A pair of twins even come gambolling up to me, but a warning low ‘baa’ from their mother advises them that this is not the done thing, and sends them scampering back. They immerse themselves in her ample undercarriage. Underneath one of the trees, two Egyptian Geese eye me suspiciously. I stand still, and they nonchalantly pretend to carry on cropping the grass. I know their little ways. As I start to move again, they unwillingly and ponderously take to the air with a grumbling croak, and double back over me to have another look from the safety of the air. They obviously have their eye on a comfortable looking hole about ten foot up in the crook of the tree. I’ll find them there week after week no doubt – well, better there than in one of the Osprey nests.

Even from a distance, the familiar shapes of 03(97) and his mate are clear in the early morning sun – he preening on one of his posts, she incubating on the nest. Through the binocular lens I see the breeze catch the feathers on the back of her head and lift them momentarily into a crest – recalling, just for an instant, two Long-crested Eagles I watched on the Dasilammeh Wetlands in The Gambia just three short months ago. Perhaps one or other of these two Ospreys were nearby on that memorable African day – certainly we saw many Ospreys there, lazing their winter away before returning northwards.

I walk on. Although this is my first solitary shift here, much has already happened in the early weeks of the season. As the website has recorded, most of our Ospreys – with one notable exception – have returned to their accustomed places. One or two have slotted into gaps, and one – I watched him take his first flights here just three years ago – has been harrying his older sibling down in the Bay. In late March we had World Osprey Week, and what a blast that was! Lucy and I, together with other members of the team and volunteers, visited five local schools in the run-up and during the week itself, and assembly halls all over Rutland reverberated each morning to the shouts of ‘WOW’ every time World Osprey Week was mentioned. The live tracking of Ospreys from Amazonia to New Hampshire, from Cameroon to Finland, and of course from Senegal to Rutland, was followed by thousands upon thousands of people all over the world, and it all ended with a Skype call which united children, teachers, parents and Osprey followers from Italy, Spain, England and North America on one memorable afternoon at the end of March. The performances by the children of Brooke Priory School and by their new friends in Spain and Italy will long be remembered – and all made possible through the medium of the Osprey – a citizen of the world indeed.

Such wide-ranging thoughts inspire me as I reach the watch-point. It has been a quiet morning so far. Once alone I set myself up and prepare to enter the inner sanctum of Osprey World – only possible here. Blackcaps are in full song, Woodpeckers are drumming or yaffling according to species. A low guttural croak heralds a Raven, a recent addition to the soundscape here. The Ospreys do not move. They know I’m here. By 9.00 the sun is blazing but the temperature is still only six degrees C. Not time yet to discard the fleece, gloves and hat, so the first coffee of the morning is taken inside the hut, and looking out through the open flaps. Waves of sweet, heady scent come in on the breeze, mingling with the coffee to take me onto a higher level of sensitivity. It’s the oil-seed rape, of course, vast yellow swathes of which are swaying in the breeze on three sides of me. I often wonder how Ospreys – and all other birds come to that – see colour. Scientists tell us that birds of prey in particular have eyesight at least sixteen times more acute than ours. Many species do react to different colours – female Ruff, Grouse and even Blue Tits always going for the ‘showiest’ males which exhibit the brightest colours in their plumage. But how do they see this amazingly gaudy show of bright yellow fields, extending acre after acre over this part of Central England? I look to our Ospreys for an explanation, but find none. They are still. To them this temporary explosion of xanthistic pigment below them is simply part of their environment, like the vast sandiness of the Sahara, the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean, the splendid azure of the Rutland sky.

At 9.30 03 launches forth from his perch and sweeps over the field, low over my head, and out of sight behind me. I’m outside now, and it’s the closest I’ve been to him. He looks fine, clean and bright, still in peak condition. The log shows he has not brought a fish in since last evening, so no doubt he will be away a while. The female on the nest turns, as she often does, to face the direction in which he flew, and stares over me, awaiting his return. I settle too, and wait…….

She is relaxed on the nest, her head drooping occasionally and the membrane flicking over her eye as she allows herself brief moments of rest. She watches as up to five Red Kites circle in the air in front of her. I do not class them as ‘intruders’ – more like friendly neighbours indulging in playful aerial displays. They pose no threat – nor do the four Buzzards who rise up as well, taking advantage of warm thermals which take them ever higher and out of sight. She shuffles slightly, carefully turning the eggs beneath her. A large bumble bee is prospecting the bare earth next to my seat, just a centimetre or two above the ground. As it moves around, it creates tiny clouds of dust, reminiscent of a miniature helicopter landing on sandy ground. It moves away over the grass, where it is likely to find early nectar-filled blossoms. Looking up again I find the clear sky criss-crossed with white vapour trails as aircraft way out of my hearing bear their passengers to distant destinations. The mid-morning period brings with it that familiar slowing of all emotions and sensations : I am slipping through into Osprey World again. Heat haze is making it difficult to view her clearly now, and she is almost merging into the shimmering mass of yellow that separates her from me.

Solitude and loneliness are two very different states. I am aware of the former this morning, but not the latter – I am surrounded by teeming life of a hundred different sorts. Just look, listen, feel and smell – it’s inspiring and delightful to be here to share it. And suddenly he is back…..she saw him coming well before he arrived, her body language clearly conveying that he was nearby. But there is no fish this time – just a small twig for the nest. She betrays no sign of disappointment or anguish, but deftly lifts from the nest and flies to a perch, where she commences a thorough preening of her feathers, passing each primary and secondary feather through her bill before settling it in place again.

This regular behaviour and sharing of duties is typical of this well established pair. As she finishes her preen, I can sense she is ready for a return to the nest, and sure enough, on cue she lifts again and resumes her incubation. Her mate moves back to his perch, and calm descends. He will not move again for a while.

There has not been a great deal of activity this morning during a routine incubation watch, but the hours have flown by and soon it is time to write up the log. It occurs to me that my observations of over one hundred wintering Ospreys during my January visit to The Gambia have made me even more appreciative of the lifestyle of these birds here in their summer home. During the walk back I turn and take one more look. Nothing has changed. Peace and calm reign. In Africa I watched Ospreys fishing in the breakers of the Atlantic coast, resting on inland marshes and lagoons, loafing on the sandy spits of offshore islands. I smile as I lean against an old gate post and complete my morning notes with the words –

‘Oh yes, I know what you did last winter………’

All's well that ends well. 03(97) re-united on the Site B nest with his mate of the past five years.

03(97) and his mate reunited at Site B at the start of a new season

03(97) and his mate at Site B

03(97) and his mate at Site B

More trouble in the bay

If you have been watching the webcam today you won’t be surprised to hear that 33(11) has been causing more trouble at the Manton Bay nest. Like yesterday the three year-old male has made frequent intrusions, forcing Maya to leave the nest unattended for long periods as she gives chase. Under normal circumastances it would be the breeding male’s role to do the majority of the chasing, but over the past two days it has become clear that 28(10) is no match for 33.  Rather than driving 33 away from Manton Bay, 28 has been kept away from his own nest by the younger male. He hasn’t been at the nest since 10am this morning, meaning that Maya has not only gone without fish, but also left the eggs unattened on numerous occionals in an effort to keep 33 away.

33(10) has spent much of today perched on a dead tree in Manton Bay

33(10) has spent much of today perched on a dead tree in Manton Bay

Maya has been forced to leave the nest unattended in order to chase 33 away

Maya has been forced to leave the nest unattended in order to chase 33 away

Photo 2 -IMG_0337---MB-female-chasing-33

33 venturing very close to the nest

33 venturing very close to the nest

33 is noticeably smaller than the larger female in flight

33 is noticeably smaller than the larger female in flight

Photo 5 - IMG_0332---Mb-female-above-33

Photo 4 - IMG_0325---MB-female-chasing-33

33 isn’t the only male to have caused trouble in the bay. Yesterday another male, 06(09), took advantage of the nest being unattended by stealing a half-eaten trout from the edge of the nest!

Photo 9 - P1050832---06(09)-stealing-trout-from-the-nest

06(09) stealing the half-eaten trout from the unattended nest

06(09) stealing the half-eaten trout from the unattended nest

The fact that the eggs have been uncovered for such prolonged periods, clearly has serious implications. If things continue in this vein – and 33 certainly shows no signs of letting-up – then, sadly, it is highly unlikely that they will hatch. It would seem that 33 is winnning the battle to usurp 28 from the nest, but only time will tell. We’ll be sure to keep you updated…

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…

So much for a quiet life! Yesterday, all was right with the world, but it has not been such smooth sailing today. Male Osprey 33 has been back and has persistently hounded the Manton Bay nest. Maya has been on and off the nest all day, chasing him away, and 28 has not been seen since about 10am.

To add insult to injury, while Maya was chasing 33, another male Osprey, 06(09), swooped down to the nest and stole the remainder of her fish! 

Here are a couple of screen-shots from today:

Maya looking up at intruder

Maya looking up at intruder

Maya incubating

Maya incubating

One nest + two Ospreys + three eggs = a winning formula

In contrast to the past couple of days, today has been fairly calm. As you may have seen on the webcam, as of yesterday morning there are now three eggs in the nest! This is the average number of eggs an Osprey will lay, and the number that Maya has always produced. Sometimes Ospreys can lay four eggs, and it seems as though 28 would like a fourth, as he has been trying to mate again today!

The eggs have been well looked after by both the male and female Osprey. As you will see in the video below, 28 is becoming diligent in his incubation duties. He doesn’t always look comfortable, but this could have something to do with his damaged right wing, as he may not be able to bend it in the right way.

One intruder was seen today, 01 back again, but not for long. The sun has been shining, the birds have looked content. 28 brought in a fish at about 11:30, Maya took it away to eat and 28 took over the incubation. All how it is meant to be!

28 brings in a fish

28 brings in a fish

Maya takes the fish and prepares to take off

Maya takes the fish and prepares to take off

Both sitting happily on the nest

Both sitting happily on the nest

28 tries to mate

28 wanting a fourth egg

WOW Migration Update

33(11) was the latest Osprey to return to Rutland Water, and elsewhere in Europe and North America, many other Ospreys are returning to their nest sites. It is great to report that four more of the Ospreys we followed as part of World Osprey Week have now made it home.

Sadly, there is also some bad news to report. It seems that Ilmari -one of the two Finnish birds we are following - has failed to make a long crossing of the Mediterranean from Libya to Greece. Here is the latest update on the two Finnish Ospreys from Professor Pertti Saurola…

Finnish Ospreys


4 April 2014

At 08:00 local time (07:00 GMT, there is no summer time / daylight saving in Algieria), Ilmari was flying 22 km from his stopover place; the satellite measured his occasional speed at 38 km per hour and altitude at 1,650 m above sea level, though only 204 m above land at that point.  Around 10:00 Ilmari crossed the border to Libya. The next fix was not received until midnight, from the sandy desert ‘in the middle of nowhere.’ He travelled 368 km this day.

5 April 2014

At 09:00, local time (07:00 GMT – like Algeria, there is no summer time / daylight saving in Libya), Ilmari was at his stopover location, but two hours later he was in flight 19 km away, which means that he had set out at around 10:15-10:30.  A fairly inexact Doppler fix indicates that Ilmari probably spent the night in the desert after covering some 314 km this day.

6 April 2014

Most of the fixes for this night and day are still missing. The first GPS fix is from 13:00 local time, some 184 km from the estimated stopover location of the previous night. His new stopover place was situated 56 km due south of the city of Misrata and 33 km from the Mediterranean coast. At an estimate, he flew 278 kilometres this day.

7 April 2014

At 09:00 local time, Ilmari was on the ground near Tawergha, 10 km from his overnight location. At noon, local time, Ilmari passed by Misrata and set out to cross the Mediterranean immediately, some 200 kilometres west of where he set out last spring.

This day, the last fix on Ilmari was received at 17:00 local Libyan time. At that time, Ilmari was flying in a north-easterly direction 167 km from the Libyan coast. Three GPS fixes received from the sea at 13:00, 15:00 and 17:00 showed that Ilmari flew at an altitude of 200 m above sea level, and that his average speed was 34 kilometres per hour.

8 April 2014

We did not receive a single GPS fix this day. However, we did receive four Doppler fixes of accuracy level “2”, at 18:41, 19:27, 23:03, and 23:47 Greece summer time, along with four more inaccurate Doppler fixes. They all showed evidence of the same thing, that Ilmari was some 24 km to the south-southwest of the Schiza island outside the southwest horn of the Peloponnese peninsula. Unfortunately, it looks very likely that Ilmari has lost his life in the waves of the Mediterranean, since all these fixes during 11 hours (including all the inexact ones) have come from the sea. According to the fixes from 19:27 and 23:03, Ilmari floated 5.7 kilometres to the east-southeast in that time.

In total, Ilmari flew 771 km during his last day, and 751 of those kilometres were travelled at sea.

Why did Ilmari pass away? Did he fall victim to the illegal hunting common in Greece, as in other Mediterranean countries?  Or did the hard weather conditions put a stop to Ilmari’s travels, just some twenty kilometres from land – already in sight – and rest? We can only guess at the answers to these questions for now. A quick analysis of the weather, made by Professor Juhani Rinne, did not reveal anything dramatic. It is possible that Ilmari has had to fly against the wind and rain in the last stages. We cannot completely shut out the possibility of a thunderstorm, either. A future, more detailed analysis may shed more light on what part the weather conditions have played in Ilmari’s death.

Sadly it looks as though Ilmari failed to cross the Mediterranean.

Sadly it looks as though Ilmari failed to cross the Mediterranean.


05 April 2014

At 9:00 local time (06:00 GMT), Heikki was flying to the west of Lake Turkana, 15 km from his stopover place. After flying 276 km along the western coast of Lake Turkana, Heikki stopped for the night near the northern end of the lake.

6 April 2014

At 9, local time, Heikki seems to have been feeding at the shores of Lake Turkana. During the following four hours, Heikki first flew 33 km northwest, and then 28 km due east to the delta of the Omo River, where he turned due north. After 15:00, Heikki crossed over to Ethiopia. He found his overnight location near the border to southern Sudan, after travelling 165 km this day.

7 April 2014

The first two fixes of this day, at 9:00 and 11:00 local time (06:00 and 08:00 GMT – Ethiopia does not have summer time / daylight saving), showed that Heikki had flown 16 km to the east-southeast from his roost, apparently to fish at River Omo. The following fixes were not received until 19 and 21 o’clock, 110 km from the previous one. The night’s fixes indicated that Heikki had had to relocate a few times during the night.

8 April 2014

At 9, local time, Heikki was flying some 7 kilometres from his restless stopover location, and proceeded 232 km northwards during the day.

9 April 2014

After flying 227 km Heikki settled down for the night three kilometres from the Blue Nile.

10–12 April 2014

Heikki spent three days refuelling at the Blue Nile.

13 April 2014

After resting and refuelling for three days, Heikki left the Blue Nile and continued northwards. At 11:00 local time (08:00 GMT), Heikki was still at his fishing location, but two hours later he was in flight 46 km north of the place where he had been refuelling. During this day, Heikki travelled 253 km, and the settled down for the night 33 km from the Sudanese border.

14 April 2014

Heikki did not have a quiet night’s rest, because some disturbance made him move 2.6 km between 01:00 and 03:00  (22:00-00:00 GMT). By 09:00, Heikki had flown 11 km, and soon after that he crossed the border into Sudan. His next night was spent by a river again – after a day trip of 176 km.

Heikki has now reached southern Sudan, after spending the winter on the coast of Mozambique. As one of the world's most northerly breeding Ospreys, he still has a long way to go!

Heikki has now reached southern Sudan, after spending the winter on the coast of Mozambique. As one of the world’s most northerly breeding Ospreys, he still has a long way to go!

To find out more about the Finnish Ospreys, check out the Finnish Museum of Natural History website.

Scottish Ospreys

Roy Dennis’s two Scottish birds are now home…well, just about. Roy takes up the story…

Blue XD

Blue XD crossed the English Channel on the afternoon of 7th April and arrived over Hayling Island at 17:40. He flew 272 km during the day, and roosted in woods north of Emsworth in Hampshire.  Next morning he probably caught a fish off Hayling Island, before eating it just north of the Northney Marina. He then resumed his migration at 10.03. That night he roosted at Grebe Lake, Calvert east of Bicester.

On 9th April he made a strong flight north via Coventry and Manchester. He stopped off at Wetsleddale Dam near Shap for a fish(?) and then roosted overnight beside River Eden at Armthwaite.

After only a short flight on 10th April, he headed more purposefully north via Kielder Forest next morning. He crossed into Scotland at 11.30am and then over the Firth of Forth from Port Seton to West Wemyss.

By 6am on 12th April he was back at his nest near Aviemore.

Blue XD's flight through England and into Scotland, 9-11 April

Blue XD’s flight through England and into Scotland, 9-11 April

Yellow HA

Having spent several days in Perthshire, Yellow HA flew north over the Angus hills to Deeside on 10th April. He then continued north, passing Rhynie and Huntly before finally roosting near Elgin. Next day he flew to the Lossie estuary in the afternoon and was still there at 7pm.  He was now very close to home – but showing no desire to return to his nest. 

Unexpectedly, Yellow HA has remained in the Elgin area since then – visiting various nest sites. I called in at his nest today and saw that his mate, Morven, has attracted a new 6 year-old mate. Maybe Yellow HA decided last year to get a new mate and nest, and may be an easier fishing area? Whatever the case, it is great that he and Blue XD have both made it safely home to Scotland.

To find out more about Roy’s work with Ospreys in Scotland, check out his website.

American Ospreys

Over on the other side of the Atlantic, two more of the WOW Ospreys have also made it home. Rob Bierregaard takes up the story…

Belle got home on the 10th after a trip of 28 days and 4,622 miles. She arrived a full month earlier than she did last year. She has now figured out the path that adults take each spring, staying over land as much as possible, even if it makes for a slightly longer trip.

She has been back to Deep Bottom Cove in Tisbury Great Pond and over to Cape Cod, where she spends a lot of time. We hope this is the year she will hook up with a male.

This is the third trip home for Belle-a record for our birds tagged as juveniles. She’s also tied with North-Fork Bob for the longest a bird has made it with a functioning radio (four years).

Belle was in a hurry as she got close to home. Her last GPS fix on the 9th April was at 18:00 just across the Chesapeake Bay in the Virginia portion of the Delmarva Peninsula. She clearly kept flying after that, but we can’t tell where she spent the night. The first location in New Jersey on the 10th was at 06:00, so she probably roosted close to that spot on the Jersey Shore. The first location on the 10th was 167 miles from the last on the 9th. That would have taken her about seven hours, so my guess is that she flew to about 01:00 before settling down for a few hours’ sleep before making the big push to get home.

On the 10th, she covered 267 miles in 12 hours, with a one-hour stopover in New Jersey probably for some fishing. Crossing Connecticut, she was flying over 30 mph, which is fast for an Osprey.

Much earlier in her migration Belle had an interesting turn when she got to Haiti. Just like in her previous two migrations she went out of her way to spend some time fishing at Lake Azuei, a very interesting spot. Turns out there’s a rift valley on Hispaniola and two below-sea-level lakes, which are known, among other things for hosting healthy populations of crocodiles. She’s the only Osprey I’ve tracked that has such a regular stop on the spring migration.

Belle's spring migration from Brazil to Massachusetts

Belle’s spring migration from Brazil to Massachusetts

North-Fork Bob, meanwhile,  had a pleasantly uneventful trip home this spring, leaving his wintering site in Venezuela a bit later than normal on 23rd March, and arriving back on the North Fork on the 11th April; a week later than his arrival last year. Bob is somewhat of a celebrity in eastern Long Island. His arrival is much anticipated in the local press.

To read more about Rob’s Osprey studies in America, check out his website.  

North Fork Bob's migration from Venezuela to Long Island, New York

North Fork Bob’s migration from Venezuela to Long Island, New York


Don’t forget you can also see the latest locations of all the WOW Ospreys, on the interactive map.


WOW at Provo Primary

Finally, it has been great to hear how many different schools around the world got involved in WOW. Sian Jones the Principal of Provo Primary School in the Turks and Caicos Island, has sent us a great report explaining what went on at her school…

There was a lot of excitement in the air at Provo Primary during the week of March 24th to March 28th because of their participation in the inaugural “World Osprey Week” (WOW). Provo Primary joined in with other schools around the world, to celebrate WOW, with a full week of activities that had the entire school body involved.

The stage at Provo Primary was transformed into an Osprey information booth, with posters, books, pictures and video clips. Parents, teachers and students were encouraged to learn about this majestic bird that can be seen in the Turks & Caicos Islands.

The Department of Environment and Marine Affairs (DEMA) were invited to make presentations and share their knowledge about Ospreys to the students during the week, along with a local photographer. DEMA also partnered with FORTIS TCI to erect an Osprey nesting platform in the Children’s Park in the Bight, which was attended by the students of the Year Two class (known as the Osprey class). The students also went on a tour of the Environmental Centre and ended the field trip outing at another osprey nesting platform in the Turtle Cove area, where they did some cleaning up around the nesting area.

A special WOW assembly was held on Friday March 28th and attendees were treated to performances and visual displays by the students. There were songs, poems, and a skit performed by students and teachers, which focused on sharing the information learnt about Ospreys with others. Students participated in an art competition and the winners were awarded prizes and certificates from DEMA.

The week ended with a beach clean-up at Smith’s Beach where another Osprey nesting platform is located.

Thank you to everyone at the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust for organising this wonderful WOW celebration and encouraging us to learn more about the ospreys that live here in our islands. It has been a great success and the interest of the children and the support community has been amazing. A true example of learning at its best!

Here are some photos of our week…

wow-march-2014 (1) wow-march-2014-7 yr-3-ospreys-march-2014-5 wow-Osprey Platform 1

Thanks very much to Sian for sending such a great report – we are delighted that you had such an excellent week!

If your school would like to find out more about WOW and the Osprey Flyways Project, click here.

Battle of the brothers

Male Osprey 33(11) made quite a nuisance of himself yesterday at the Manton Bay nest. 28 spent the entire day trying to chase him away, and ended up being the one getting chased! Another male Osprey, 01(09), decided to join the party, and he started chasing 33! 28 disappeared for a while, and 33 made some swoops at the nest, forcing Maya to leave the eggs unattended to see him off. Eventually it all quietened down, 33 and 01 disappeared, Maya settled back down to incubate, and 28 returned. Peace was restored.  

28, 33 and 01 all happen to be brothers. They all hatched out in consecutive years from the same nest – Site B. 01 was from 2009, 28 from 2010 and 33 from 2011. Brotherly rivalry?

Below are some amazing photographs of the chase by John Wright.

The female watching the chase from the nest

The female watching the chase from the nest

The chase takes the birds as high as 4,000ft!

The chase takes the birds as high as 4,000ft!


Some great shots of 33 chasing 28. You can clearly tell which one is 28 by his slightly damaged right wing.

IMG_9789---Photo 3 - 33-chasing-28

IMG_9880---Photo 4 - 33-chasing-28

IMG_9885---Photo 5 - 33-chasing-28.-Both-almost-upside-down

IMG_9886---Photo 6 - 33-chasing-28

IMG_9895---Photo 7 - 33-chasing-28

IMG_9896---Photo 8 - 33-chasing-28

IMG_9729--Photo 9 - 33-chasing-28


Some nice close-ups of 33:

IMG_0005---Photo 10 - Male-33

IMG_0003---Photo 11 - Male-33

IMG_0004---Photo 12 - Male-33


33 bothering Maya:

Female below, chasing male 33 from the nest

Female below, chasing male 33 from the nest

Female below chasing male 33

Female below, chasing male 33

Male 33 approaching as female lands on nest

Male 33 approaching as female lands on nest

Male 33 above the female

Male 33 above the female

Peace is restored in the bay - the female sitting on the eggs

The female sits on the eggs as peace is restored in the bay

Fishy business in the bay

New arrival 33(11) has been causing trouble today for the Manton Bay pair. He was around yesterday, and by late afternoon it was thought he had gotten the message and disappeared. However, today he is back, and 28 is having difficulty in getting rid of him!

John took some brilliant photographs yesterday, including some great close-ups of 28 and 33, and a lovely sequence of images showing 28 bringing in a small bream and Maya taking it away to eat. Enjoy…

Brilliant close-up of 28 flying

Brilliant close-up of 28 flying

Male Osprey 33(11) intruding in the bay

Male Osprey 33(11) intruding in the bay

28 brings in a roach

28 brings in a roach, note the red fins

28 coming into the nest with a small bream

28 approaches the nest with a small bream

28 arrives with small bream

28 arrives with bream

Maya taking the fish away

Maya grabs the fish…

Maya flies away with the bream

…and flies away with it

28 incubating

28 takes over incubation

28 standing on Maya's back

28 standing on Maya’s back

33(11) perched nearby the nest

33(11) perched nearby the nest

33 appears to be a very fiesty young male. Hopefully, he will eventually take the hint that this nest is not available!

Here are some photographs taken by John a couple of days ago, of 28 with a pike. This helps to demonstrate the variety of fish that are available to the Ospreys in Rutland Water. In the last week we have seen bream, roach and pike. 

28 with a lovely pike, you can clearly see its markings

28 with a lovely pike, you can clearly see its markings

28 bringing the pike to the nest

28 bringing the pike to the nest

28 bringing the pike

28 bringing the pike

Incubation? Easy…

It’s been another typical spring day today, the sun brightening up the bay, while the wind whipped up the water on the reservoir, making fishing difficult. There are still just two eggs here at the Manton Bay nest, number three could arrive tomorrow! Despite the wind, 28 brought in a fish at lunchtime, and then began incubating the eggs – he’s getting much better at it!

28 incubating!

28 incubating!


More mating has taken place on the nest today; they will continue to mate until the entire clutch has been laid. At one point today, Maya was incubating and 28 came down and landed on her back. Did he want to mate again? No, he made no move to do so, and Maya stayed put, not bothered in the slightest that 28 was using her as a perch! We realised that he was watching an intruder, who seemed to circle the nest.


The intruder turned out to be another new arrival! 33(11), a three-year-old male. He was seen hanging around in the area for quite a while, perching nearby the nest. This is the first time he has been seen this year! He returned to Rutland last year for the first time, and he could well breed this year.



The second egg

As you will have seen, if you have been watching the webcam, there are now two eggs in the Manton Bay nest.

At first 28(10) was a bit reluctant to incubate; he was picking at the nest material and just looking down at the eggs. This was certainly a new experience for him, but by lunchtime he was taking to incubation more confidently, as the video below shows.

We are hoping that Maya will lay the third egg tomorrow or Monday.

28(10) with the two eggs

28(10) with the two eggs