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Only two

We have some more sombre news to report I’m afraid. The fourth chick, whose arrival we were eagerly awaiting, has sadly died. Looking back through the recordings we have discovered that it hatched yesterday evening. A crack was visible in the egg at 19:49, and you can just see the chick moving inside it in the below video, in the gap between those awkward sticks!

Bigger crack PAINT

At 20:04 the chick hatched fully, just visible here in front of Maya.

Maya stayed on the chicks all night, keeping them warm and dry. This morning, volunteer Peter informed us that she had been moving some egg shell at 07:26 this morning, making us think that perhaps the chick had just hatched.

Unfortunately, due to the sticks at the front of the nest, our view is impinged and we found it difficult to work out what was going on. But when a fish came in and there were clearly only two chicks, we knew something had to be wrong. We then had a view of the egg, and at first thought that it hadn’t hatched yet, but then it rotated and we could see it was just an empty shell.

Egg shell

On further scrutiny we noticed that there appeared to be a downy lump lying motionless in the nest near the other two chicks. Thanks to the recording system we were able to then rewind throughout the day and into yesterday, discovering when the chick hatched. We then found evidence that the chick was already motionless in the nest as early as 06:30 this morning. In the picture below you can just see a head to the right of the chick on the right…

With dead chick

As she did with the other chick, at 14:31 Maya removed the body of this one from the nest.

We expect that this chick did not live for very long after hatching, perhaps even only a matter of minutes. We can’t know why it did not survive, but it’s most likely that it simply wasn’t strong enough. Laying four eggs is fairly unusual, having them all hatch even less so. Chicks dying soon after hatching is not an uncommon thing, it is nature and it’s true that you have to be strong to survive. Raising a brood of two is still fantastic, and we are thankful that the two chicks are both healthy, are feeding extremely well and look very strong.

Food

The larger of the two is already becoming very adventurous!

Adventurous chick

 

 

 

Let the sunshine in

The weather has been glorious at Rutland today, and we feel all the more grateful for it after yesterdays downpour!

A gorgeous day (and a gorgeous bird!)

A gorgeous day (and a gorgeous bird!)


Our ospreys have been making the most of the fairer conditions, and were up early today, with 33 bringing in the first fish at 4.45am – so early that our camera was still filming in infared!

Once again, 33 had bought in a big roach, and both our chicks got a great first meal of the day.

At around 06.40 this morning, Maya flew to the T-perch and left 33 alone on the nest with the chicks and the remaining egg. He kept walking around the nest, getting closer to the chicks and backing away again – almost like he wanted to incubate the remaining egg, but didn’t know how to approach the task with 2 chicks in the way! Maya eventually came to relieve him, but we got some lovely views of him on the nest with the chicks in the sunshine.
33 and chicks

33 and chicks



33 has continued to bring sticks to the nest, and Maya has been moving them around – sometimes drawing a sharp intake of breath from us at the centre when they get a bit too close to the chicks! We have been worrying unnecessarily though as they miss them every time. Both 33 and Maya have been busy home-making today, adding to and adjusting the nest.



Unfortunately all this building means we still don’t have a great view of the chicks and the remaining egg! We thought today could be the day when the final chick hatched, although it is looking like it could be tomorrow now – we are waiting for Maya reaching down to feed a mouth that maybe we can’t see, as the other 2 chicks are strong enough to lift their heads well into view now.
We have also had a couple of intruders overhead today, not close enough to come into view of the camera but close enough to upset 33 and Maya. In this video 33 spreads himself out on the nest and the chicks are protected under his wing.

Our chicks have had regular feeds throughout the day and are both looking healthy and strong. The weather is looking to go downhill again tomorrow, but as we know from yesterday this shouldn’t stop Maya and 33 providing for them!

Rainy days

It’s been a very wet day today! Maya has done a great job of keeping the chicks warm and dry, only stepping away from them to offer them fish. 33 has done a great job of bringing in plenty of fish today, despite the inclement weather. The chicks have been fed on at least five separate occasions, and that won’t be it for today! They are looking very healthy and strong. We are hopeful that the fourth egg will hatch tomorrow – today isn’t the best weather to enter the world!

So wet

Huddled up

Here is Maya feeding the chicks this morning at 07:45. It’s a shame that our view is impinged by the sticks 33 has added to this side of the nest! However, the chicks can be seen through the gaps, and you can see how Maya leans around to ensure she feeds the chick further back as well as the one in front.

33 delivered another fish at 08:40, which Maya took from him and fed immediately to the chicks.

Food

The chicks were fed again at 11:26, then just before 14:00, then another one came in at 16:00! This time we get a slightly better view of the chicks. Again you can see Maya making sure to feed both chicks.

Foood

Roach has been 33’s fish of choice lately, and we believe there is a supply of spawning roach in Manton Bay itself, which 33 is cleverly utilising. He delivered one at 9pm last night which he must have just caught that minute – it was clearly still alive!

It didn’t remain alive for long, thankfully, as Maya soon began to feed this very fresh meal to her chicks.

The weather looks set to improve tomorrow, which I’m sure Maya will appreciate! Keep your eyes on the webcam for the appearance of the final chick…

Rainy

 

Two on the nest once more

We are delighted to report some happier news today – we arrived at the centre this morning to chick number 3! It’s not clear exactly when the chick hatched, as 33 has recently added a few sticks to the front of the nest, but we got some great views of it at around 5.50am. Here it is a bit later, being fed by Maya.

2 chicks!

2 chicks!



Shortly before this, at around 5am, Maya removes the deceased chick from the nest – it’s a little upsetting to watch. Whilst it’s easy to attribute our ospreys with human emotions, in truth we don’t really know what is going through Maya’s head at the time of removal. Without a mouth gaping up at her, its possible she doesn’t even recognise it as her chick anymore – we can only speculate!

We are happy to report that our 2 chicks are looking healthy and well, and have both been seen feeding today. When he isn’t busy building up the front of the nest with sticks, 33 is bringing in fish like clockwork!


The current height of the nest makes it very tricky to spot the third egg, but we are hoping it will hatch in a couple of days time.
What a rollercoaster of a week so far – and it’s only Tuesday!

Some sad news…

It has been an upsetting day at Lyndon today, as we arrived this morning to see no movement from one of our chicks. Our volunteers in Waderscrape called first thing to let us know there had been no sign of life from the chick all morning, despite the other chick being fed – not a good sign.

Only 1 chick was feeding this morning

Only 1 chick was feeding this morning

We went back over the footage from last night to see when the last sign of activity had been. The last sighting of both chicks looking healthy and well was at around half 8 last night, when Maya moves off the chicks for a short while to move a stick on the nest. Then, when Maya next moves off the chicks at 22.34, only one chick is moving – this remains to be the case every time she gets off the nest for the rest of the night.

Looking back over the footage, we did notice that when the chicks are exposed at 8.30pm, Maya seems to accidentally stand on one of the chicks as she settles back down on the nest – the chick seems to bounce back from this, and Maya has her talons carefully tucked under, but this may have done more damage than it first seemed.

We can’t know for sure if this is the reason the chick died, as we don’t know how much weight Maya placed on it – at this stage the chicks are still very fragile and unfortunately there are a number of things that can happen to end a young chicks life. We are of course devastated by the loss of this chick, but for now we take comfort in the fact that the remaining chick seems healthy and strong. Here are some clips of it eating first thing this morning, before the rain started, once at 5.10am and again at around 8.30am.


33 bought another fish in this afternoon – roach seems to be plentiful at the moment and he is catching plenty for his new family, despite the poor weather. We can only see one chick in the nest in these videos, but we’ve not seen a chick be removed from the nest yet so assume the deceased chick must have been pushed down into the nest cup, below the line of sticks blocking the eggs from view.


For now, we feel lucky that we still have one healthy chick remaining, and additionally that we haven’t seen anything like this happen before on our nest. We’ve been very fortunate so far, Maya and 33 have a high rate of breeding success compared to some nests and we are hopeful that the rest of the year will go well for them. Our remaining 2 eggs should hatch over the next couple of days, and we remain optimistic that this will still be a productive year for our wonderful ospreys!

Our remaining chick is feeding and looking strong!

Our remaining chick is feeding and looking strong!