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Seasons in the sun

As I mentioned yesterday, we still have lots of Osprey action happening in Manton Bay! This time of year is a very active time, as all three juveniles have been flying for two and a half weeks now, and are loving the freedom their wings give them.

The Lyndon Nature Reserve remains the best place to see the Manton Bay family, either from Waderscrape or Shallow Water hides. Volunteers will be on duty in Waderscrape hide from 6am – 8pm every day until our Ospreys leave us, along with telescopes for you to use to have a look at the Ospreys. We have also had several Water Vole sightings from the scrape in front of the hide!

Shallow Water hide is a quieter hide which is great for photography. From this viewpoint, the nest is seen with a nice backdrop of Burley-on-the-Hill. Shallow Water hide is where Dave Cole has spent a lot of time recently, filming the Ospreys. His patience and dedication have been rewarded with several superb videos, which he edits brilliantly to create films of the best shots of the Ospreys and other wildlife in Manton Bay. Here is his most recent Manton Bay video. Many thanks to Dave for this wonderful footage.

Just recently, we have been informed of some great news – another 2013-born Rutland Osprey is on his way home! It is 1K(13), a male who was seen on his wintering grounds in The Gambia last winter, and who we hoped we would see this year. He is not actually back in the UK yet, but he’s close – he’s in Belgium!

Here is where he was spotted. Photo courtesy of Google-Earth and this website.

1K's location in Belgium

1K’s location in Belgium

 

These photographs of 1K were taken by Dieder Plu. Many thanks to Dieder for allowing us to share them.

1K, photo by Dieder Plu

1K, photos by Dieder Plu

1K in Belgium3

The summer holidays are now in full swing, and the weather is finally improving! We are glad that tomorrow looks set to be a lovely day, as it is Osprey Family Fun Day! If you’re stuck for something to do with the family, and you enjoy wildlife, games and a mission to complete, then this is the event for you!

Children get the chance to be an Osprey for the day, with their very own Osprey ring. Then they must migrate through the nature reserve, undertaking several activities in order to continue onto Africa (Waderscrape hide)!

There will also be a bird ringing demonstration taking place!

The fun will take place tomorrow (4th August) at the Lyndon Nature Reserve, near Manton, from 10am-3pm. You don’t need to book, just turn up on the day. Click here for more information.

Fun day 2Fun day 3

We had another superb Osprey Cruise on Saturday, with several close-up sightings of flying Ospreys, and a fabulous view of one catching a fish! Here are a couple of photographs taken by John Smallman, which really show just how big the fish was! Thank you to John for these shots.

John Smallman - Over the Water John Smallman - flying away John Smallman - Edge of the Woods

There are a few more Osprey Cruises taking place throughout August, some of which still have spaces remaining. Here is a list of the remaining cruises with availability – click each one to see more details and book:

Wed 5th August 16:30
Sat 8th August 15:45
Wed 12th August 16:30
Sat 29th August 15:45

 

 

 

Animal Instinct

A question that we are getting a lot at this time of year is whether the Ospreys are still with us. The answer is yes! They will stay in the area until the end of August or even into early September. Last season, Maya and 33 left on 7th and 8th September respectively.

Of course, they did not raise any chicks last year, but this season, all three youngsters will have to make that 3,000 mile journey aswell. However, they won’t do it as a family – they all go alone. It is absolutely incredible that the juveniles manage to find their way to their wintering grounds, having never been before, and without being shown the way. It is something that we will never be able to fully comprehend. They make this journey based entirely on instinct. Some unseen, inexplicable force within them kicks in, which tells them they must fly south, and when they feel that pull they will leave Manton Bay, and head to West Africa.

It is not just their migration that their instinct assists them with. Ospreys are governed very heavily by their instincts throughout their lives, even from a very young age. We have seen evidence throughout the season that the young Ospreys’ instincts are guiding them.

For instance, they have a survival instinct that makes them lie completely still when there is any danger, as they are so camouflaged in the nest they are invisible when they do not move. Also, several weeks ago we witnessed the chicks begin to move sticks and nest material around the nest, so they clearly have a strong nest-building instinct.

Just yesterday, S3 was seen to instinctively mantle over her fish, to prevent her brother stealing it.

Also, the juveniles have been seen diving into the water, as if fishing, and even though they come up with nothing but perhaps a bit of algae, the instinct to fish is there. Diving into the water could also be an example of learning by imitation. The word imitation comes from the Latin imitatio, which means copying. Basically, the juveniles have observed the adults fishing and are replicating their actions.

S1 diving into the water, photo by John Wright

S1 diving into the water, photo by John Wright

 

Recently, there has been another occasion where a juvenile has used imitation – a few weeks ago we saw S3 watching S1 eating a fish, and she copied off him using a bit of nest material!

We hope their migration instincts guide our Ospreys well when they leave us in a few weeks’ time. In the meantime, however, let’s enjoy the time we have whilst they are still with us, as they are certainly putting on a good aerial show every day in Manton Bay! Visit us at the Lyndon Visitor Centre and Nature Reserve to see them.

S3 and Maya

S3 and Maya

 

 

When you’re young

As Tim mentioned the other day, the three young Ospreys in Manton Bay are getting more courageous and exploratory in their flights, and are spending longer away from the bay. It’s great that they are travelling further and observing more of their natal area, as they will need to form a bond with Rutland and hopefully return here in two years’ time!

They are living a charmed existence at the moment – it is evident that all three are enjoying their freedom on the wing, and they have no stresses or pressures on them, as they know they can still return to the nest where Mum and Dad provide food. What a life!

In the videos below, you can see S2 and S3 waiting patiently for S1 to finish his share of a fish.

S1 eating, the other waiting patiently

S1 eating, the others waiting patiently

 

Sometimes the juveniles will sit on the nest and food-beg, as you can see S3 doing here. It looks as though Maya listens to the demands of her chick and flies off to go and catch her a fish! Or, perhaps she just got fed up of being nagged and went to sit somewhere else!

Maya flying off

Maya flying off

 

The juveniles’ new-found sense of adventure means that we could very well see them on one of our Osprey Cruises! We have certainly seen a lot of Ospreys on these so far, and they are also a great way of seeing Rutland Water from a different perspective.

We have six cruises running during August, some of which have sold out, others not so. They do sell out very quickly, though, so if you are interested in booking there is no time like the present!

Here is a list of afternoon cruises with availability – click each one to see more details and book:
Wed 5th August 16:30
Sat 8th August 15:45
Wed 12th August 16:30
Sat 29th August 15:45

Also, two places have become available on our previously sold out Dawn Osprey Cruise on 15th August!

Osprey with fish, photo by Bob Moore

Osprey with a fish, taken on an Osprey Cruise in 2015. Photo by Bob Moore

Sunrise over the Rutland Belle, photo by Matt Broadhead

Sunrise over the Rutland Belle, photo by Matt Broadhead

 

We have a special day planned on 4th August – Family Fun Day! If you love Ospreys, nature, games and being outdoors on a lovely sunny day (we hope), then this is perfect for you! Bring the whole family along for a day of fun! Click here for more details.

Untitled

 

 

Getting adventurous

The three Manton bay juveniles have again been putting on a great show for visitors to Lyndon today. All three are becoming much more adventurous; performing skillful aerial acrobatics in front of Waderscrape and Shallow Water hides. They are also beginning to venture away from the nest for the first time. S1, in particular, has been making some long flights away from Manton Bay; and earlier this morning was absent for more than an hour and half. The post-fledging period is an incredibly important time for young Ospreys: these exploratory flights help them to learn where they are from, and therefore imprint on Rutland. They also help to prepare the birds for the long and arduous flight to West Africa.

They might be getting more confident on the wing, but all three youngsters are still returning to the nest at regular intervals. 33 has brought two fish to the nest since 7am today, allowing all three chicks to have a good feed. As you’ll know if you’ve been watching the webcam, all three are now able to feed themselves. That said, S3 seemed a little unsure of exactly what to do with her breakfast! As you’ll see in the (edited) video below, S2 waited patiently for S3 to finish, before taking his chance to eat. With 33 providing so much fish, there is no need for any aggression between the chicks.

Later on this afternoon, 33 caught a pike in Manton Bay. All three chicks immediately flew to the nest, but it was S1 who got there first and eagerly tucked into his afternoon meal while the other two waited their turn. It was nice to see all three youngsters together while S1 ate the fish.

3 chicks

Don’t forget that next Tuesday is Family Fun Day at Lyndon. It promises to a great day, so make sure you don’t miss out. Click here to find out more!

Birds on film

The Ospreys have been very active again today, and all five have been present in the bay for most of the day. 33 did all of his fishing early in the morning again, and we had a repeat of Sunday, where there were too many fish to go around! It’s great that the juveniles are being so well cared for, and this abundance of food stands them in good stead for their migration in a few weeks’ time.

Here is another superb video filmed by Dave Cole. This video contains a brilliant assortment of Osprey footage, and also shows some of the other wildlife that can be seen from Shallow Water hide on the Lyndon Nature Reserve. Many thanks to Dave for this and all of his other videos.

In other news, a few weeks ago George Peach, Director of IEPUK, ran his first half-marathon to raise money for the project’s education work in Gambia. We’re incredibly grateful to George – a long-standing supporter of the project – for raising over £300. This money will enable us to run field trips for students at five Gambian schools this winter, led by Junkung Jadama. You can read more about George’s run on the IEPUK website. To read more about the project’s work in Gambia, click here.

George with his wife Julie and son Rupert at the finish

George with his wife Julie and son Rupert at the finish