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Make me want to stay

Recently, there have been reports from around the country of Ospreys leaving on their autumn migration, as we would expect. The five birds in Manton Bay, however, are all still here! Today, they were even on the nest quite a lot. All three juveniles were on the nest together at one point in the morning, one of whom – S1 – was eating a fish, whilst the others looked on.

All three juveniles, S1 with a fish

All three juveniles, S1 with a fish

 

The next time we looked, Maya was on the nest with two of the youngsters – S1 had gone, and S3 was eating a fish that Maya appeared to have just delivered.

Maya with S2 and S3

Maya with S2 and S3

 

S2 had to wait until last to feed, and stood watching and complaining loudly as S3 ate. When she had had enough, S3 left the fish with S2 and he happily tucked in.

S2 with the fish

S2 with the fish

 

All three juveniles are evidently still being very well fed by their parents, and therefore seem to have no motivation to leave the area any time soon! They have been incredibly well fed all season, as we have so often seen by the amount of fish left uneaten at the side of the nest. Perhaps 33 has done his job too well, as they clearly don’t want to go!

As I have said previously, Maya generally waits until one of her chicks has gone before she leaves. However, this year we could see a change in the running order if she gets fed up of waiting for them!

S1 in the sun at the end of the day

S1 in the sun at the end of the day

 

Don’t forget, even though the Ospreys will surely have left us by then, there is still a chance to join the Osprey Project at our end of season celebratory event – our Osprey Fundraising Dinner and Dance on 18th September. Click here for more details!

 

 

Let’s celebrate!

We are nearing the end of the season, and what a fantastic season it has been! Eight nests and fifteen chicks demonstrates how successful the Rutland Osprey Project has become. The fact that the 100th chick has made its maiden flight, and that we now have four generations of Rutland Ospreys in the area, proves that a self-sustaining population of Ospreys is now established, which was the hope and expectation from the start of the project in the mid-90s.

Having reached such a significant milestone, this year’s Osprey Fundraising Dinner and Dance at Barnsdale Lodge Hotel is the opportunity for us to celebrate this wonderful success. Roy Dennis was instrumental in getting the Rutland Osprey Project off the ground in the 1990s, and his vision has enabled these wonderful birds to become established in central England, and also in Wales. We are therefore delighted that Roy will be coming to the dinner to give a talk about the legacy of the Rutland Osprey Project, and the impact it has had on Osprey conservation around Europe.

This event will be an extremely relaxed affair, with a smart / smart casual dress code. It will take place on Friday 18th September 2015, and tickets cost £55. This includes a three course meal, a glass of prosecco on arrival and wine or a soft drink with the meal. In addition to Roy’s talk, there will also be jazz/soul music on the evening from local band, Jonny’s at One. There will also be a raffle with lots of fabulous prizes, including a meal for two at the Olive Branch, a signed copy of David Attenborough’s “Life on Earth”, a wood carving of a turtle dove, a voucher for a session in the photography hide at the River Gwash Trout Farm, and much more!

All proceeds from the evening go directly to the Osprey Project, so if you are able to come, you will not only be able to enjoy a very special evening, but also be supporting the project at the same time. More details about the evening can be found by clicking here.

The event is being sponsored by local company IEPUK who have shown a great deal of support to the project over the years, for which we are very grateful.

If you would like to come, please call the Lyndon Centre on 01572 737378 or e-mail kbrookes@rutlandwater.org.uk.

Here is a menu to whet your appetite!

Menu jpeg

 

Fishing for fame

As I mentioned the other day, we had some very successful cruises on the Rutland Belle over the Birdfair weekend. The weather was kind to us every time, and we were privy to some fantastic views of Ospreys flying by and fishing. Having a celebrity presence was, of course, a very nice bonus, and we’d like to thank Simon King, David Lindo and Nick Baker for joining us on these trips, and also thanks to everyone who came along and enjoyed them with us.

Here are some photographs taken by Phillip Ward, on the first celebrity cruise on Thursday last week. This Osprey did a fantastic fly-by of the boat with this fish, coming at us from in front, then circling with it very close to us. It was a huge fish, and he almost dropped it more than once! Luckily, he kept his grip and flew away successfully with it. Thank you to Simon King, who did a great job of following this Osprey with his commentary, and to Captain Matt, who did a great job of following him with the boat! And of course, thank you very much to Phillip for allowing us to share these photos.

11 on celebrity cruise (Phillip Ward (2) 11 on celebrity cruise (Phillip Ward (1) 11 on celebrity cruise (Phillip Ward (3) 11 on celebrity cruise (Phillip Ward (4) 11 on celebrity cruise (Phillip Ward (5)

All of our Osprey Cruises have been immensely successful this season. We have seen at least one Osprey on every single cruise, usually more than that – we’ve had up to seven birds spotted in one 1.5 hour cruise! Often, we have witnessed the truly superb spectacle of an Osprey diving and catching a fish.

We only have one cruise left this season, and it has sold out I’m afraid. However, if you have missed out there is no need to worry, as there is always next year! We run about twenty cruises throughout the Osprey breeding season, from the end of May to the end of August. Next year’s dates will be released at some point during the coming months, but until then, you can always purchase a voucher. The cruise vouchers allow you to secure a place on any 2016 cruise, and when the dates are released, all you need to do is contact us to book a spot on your preferred date.

These vouchers are fantastic Christmas or birthday presents, and can even be made out in someone’s name to make it that bit more special. For more information about cruises and booking vouchers, please click here.

Rutland Belle

 

Waiting for the rain

What a wonderful weekend it has been. Birdfair was a great success – we certainly enjoyed it on the Osprey Stand! It was fantastic to meet so many different people, from so many different places! The atmosphere was one of busy excitement and gracious hospitality. We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to everyone who supported the Osprey Project over the weekend by volunteering on our stand, in the Lyndon Centre or in Waderscrape hide. You all did a superb job and made the weekend run smoothly and efficiently. Thanks also to everyone who visited us on our stand, and bought books, made monetary donations or donated football kits to our cause in Africa. It was great to meet you all!

Today has been fairly quiet in comparison to the hustle and bustle of the weekend. However, it was still a busy day at Lyndon, and the still-present Ospreys have been drawing in the crowds once again! S1 has been on the nest most of the day, begging for food and being generally lazy. It’s been great having him there though, as it’s not often these days we have any Ospreys on the nest for prolonged periods!

Look at him here in the sunrise this morning, what a beautiful scene.

S1 on the nest (1)

Later in the day, the weather turned, and we had a great deal of rain! In these pictures you can see the dramatic skies providing an atmospheric backdrop to the Osprey nest.

S1 on the nest (5)S1 in the rain (2)

 

 

Fair share

It has been another busy day, both at Birdfair and Lyndon! It has been particularly warm today, too – just the sort of weather you’d expect for late August. The warm weather has meant crowds of people are out and about enjoying the summer, and ice creams have sold very well indeed! The Ospreys are still proving to be a huge draw for people, and the hides on the Lyndon Nature Reserve have been packed all day. Luckily, none of our five Manton Bay Ospreys have set off on their migration yet, and so are here for all to see!

33 with a trout, photo by John Wright

33 with a trout, photo by John Wright

 

I spent a couple of hours monitoring the Ospreys yesterday evening. It was a beautiful evening, the sun was bright, the water was calm and the Ospreys were all there – Maya and S1 were on the T-perch, 33 was sitting in the fallen poplar to the right of the nest, S3 was on the nest eating a fish, and S2 was with her, food-begging. It was an idyllic, peaceful scene – if you don’t count the incessant racket from S2, that is!

We have noticed that, now the juveniles are older and more self-assured, they have become very possessive over fish and have been seen to fight over them occasionally. S1 and S3 fighting over a perch last week is a case in point – click here to read about that!

However, contrary to this evidence of antagonism between the juveniles, last night I noticed them behaving in the completely opposite manner. All three of them shared their fish most graciously.

33 had delivered the big trout to the nest at 16:30, and when I arrived at the hide at 18:00, S3 was on the nest tucking in, and S2 was shouting for his turn. He didn’t attempt to steal the fish from his sister, though. After a while, S1 flew off the T-perch and alighted on the nest with his siblings, wanting a bit of the fish, too. But, like S2, he waited. When S3 had had her fill, she surrendered the fish and went to sit next to Mum. S2 was next in line and gorged himself for a while, then, just as courteously as S3, he relinquished the fish to S1, and went to have a bath in the reservoir.

It was a lovely thing to witness. There was no sign of any aggression or hostility between the juveniles at all. I expect their behaviour is dependent on their mood, and the particular situation and conditions.

S1 with fish

S1 gets the fish last

 

Tomorrow is the last chance to visit the Birdfair, and the Osprey Project have a special presentation taking place in the Author’s Marquee at 3:30pm. It is the launch of a brand new Osprey book for children – “Be an Osprey Expert”. Click here for more details about the book. At this book launch, pupils from Brooke Priory School will be performing their Osprey song! There will also be the chance to find out more about the Osprey Project’s work in Africa, and the team will be joined by a special guest from The Gambia… come along to find out all about it!

OSPREY EXPERT JPEG (2) Gambian Flag