Blogs

Autumn Travels

Manton Bay

This morning we had beautiful golden sunshine bathing Rutland Water in its bright glow, but there was also a slight nip in the air, autumn isn’t coming, it is here! Down in Manton Bay the sunshine is bouncing off the reservoir casting light all around, although it is full of wildfowl, waders and plenty of other birds it still feels empty…

The osprey nest sits proud in the water, but nothing is sat upon it, apart from the odd corvid or cormorant. There is no food begging osprey, which each year becomes the sound track of the summer. The T-perch is bare and 33(11)’s favourite spot in the poplar tree is empty, the Manton Bay osprey have gone. 33 was last seen on Monday, by now he will be off on another amazing migration, hopefully to return recharged next March.  

S1

S1 has made fantastic progress; he entered Western Sahara from Morocco on the 3rd September at 17:00. He has been skipping over the border into Mauritania a few times; a good reminder that these ospreys don’t see our man-made borders, highlighting the need for international cooperation to protect not just these, but all migrating birds.

S1 2nd – 3rd

S1 3rd

 

S1 5th

30

If you saw the last blog you will know that 30 started her migration on the 31st of August. She has now made it all the way to Morocco! Amazingly she has flown 2622 km in just six days. She followed her fairly typical route of heading down the west coast of France, passing over the Gironde estuary, as S1 did just days before. She then swooped round the Pyrenees by taking a coastal route across to Spain; following a similar route to S1, on the 2nd she roosted just outside of Madrid. Over the next couple of days she quickly made her way through southern Spain, and crossed into Morocco on the 4th making landfall near the town of Tangier. She is now west of Marrakesh and will no doubt make her way into Western Sahara either today or tomorrow, she is on the home straight, and has managed an amazing feat already!

30 31st-01

30 01st

30 2nd -3rd

30 4th-5th

4K

It was mentioned in the last blog that 4K was spotted over Manton Bay on Sunday by volunteer Chris Woods who managed to get a photo; I had said jokingly that he could be just saying goodbye before he headed off on his own migration, it seems I could have been right, as 4Ks’ next stop after Manton Bay was Normandy. Interestingly, he seems to be following a very similar route to that of female 30, their Northern France roosting areas are less than 100 km away from each other. However, instead of skirting the French coast as 30 does, 4K decided to take the slightly short but much more notorious Bay of Biscay, he made the crossing in seven hours and rested on the northern Spanish cost near Bibao. He then headed south-east, the last data point showed him roosting near the Valdecanas reservoir, hopefully catching a well-deserved meal.

4K in Manton Bay by Chris Woods

4K 2nd

4k roost 2nd

4K roost 3rd

4K fishing spot

roost 4th

fishing spot 4th

 

Farewell from the Osprey Ambassadors

A blog by the Rutland Osprey Project Education team – Jackie, Ken & Pete

 

Many of our School Osprey Ambassadors met up on Sunday for our final meeting of the year at the Volunteer Training Centre, on the Egleton reserve.

After a brief welcome introduction by Ken, Pete did a picture round-up of the Rutland Osprey year. Then we tucked in to a wonderful spread of cakes, snacks and drinks provided by Liz which included a chocolate osprey cake, nest cupcakes, decorated sponges, jelly, brownies and more! Well done Liz!

 
 

Our activities began with Jackie taking a look at osprey and owl feeding. This was followed by a surprisingly popular owl pellet dissection, so we could see what the owls have been eating. We were lucky because Harriet brought some of her cetacean bone collection to look at too!

Owl pellet dissection, with bones extracted.

 
 

Ken led a birdwatching session from the upper meeting room which overlooks Lagoon 4. A good bird list, but sadly no ospreys today – most have now left Rutland and are heading south to overwinter in West Africa.

Sadly, this was our last Ambassadors meeting for 2018! Many Ambassadors will return in 2019, but no doubt we will have some new ambassadors taking over in some schools, plus new schools joining in with our activities next year.

The Ambassadors Osprey Club will resume in 2019 with the Ambassadors WOW Warm-up held on Sunday 10th March 2019.

Next year, schools can join in with World Osprey Week (WOW!) 11th-22nd March 2019 for a whole fortnight! By this time the ospreys should be migrating north and some will have already arrived back in Rutland! The Rutland Osprey Project team cannot wait till next year for another exciting season.

Education team, Rutland Osprey Project 

On Their Way

It’s been another beautiful day at Rutland Water, this morning 33 caught a fish which he then ate on the T-perch, not long after, he started to climb high into the sky, until he was just a tiny speck against a blue back drop, and it looked as though he might have left for his migration. A couple of hours later, an osprey swooped into the bay, it was identified as 33, so he’s not gone yet…

S1 is making great progress and as of last night he was about half way across Morocco, deciding to overnight west of Marrakesh.

S1 31st-1st

30 the female osprey has finally made her move as well! Unfortunately, we are missing some of the data points, so can’t show her exact journey though France, but she has managed to make it all the way to the Pyrenees Mountains in just a couple of days!

30- 31st-2nd

30- Stopover 1st-2nd

4K is still in the Rutland area, in fact he was spotted passing over Manton Bay today. Maybe he just popped over to see the neighbours before he started his own migration.

Autumn Already

The past few days we have had beautiful weather, although we are starting to feel the nip of autumn in the air. This has meant that lots of the Rutland ospreys are starting to move off away from Rutland and back to their wintering grounds. This includes the Manton Bay female Maya, she was last seen yesterday morning; she is most likely already on her way to her wintering grounds, maybe somewhere in southern England or northern France already. 33(11) the Manton Bay male has been in the bay today but it doesn’t look like he will be here much longer, this morning he caught a massive trout, which no doubt means he’s stocking up before the long migration.

Last week 6K, one of the young males, was spotted on lagoon 4 with an unringed female, both were showing signs of bonding at the nest. Both birds have now left, but it shows great promise for next year.

Another Rutland bird spotted at the beginning of August was male T7(16), a Manton Bay chick, this was very exciting news, as this bird has not been seen in the UK since his first migration. The bird was spotted down in Devon, let’s hope he makes it back up here for next year’s breeding season.

As for the satellite birds the young S1 is powering over Southern Europe, and yesterday morning crossed over towards Morocco at the strait of Gibraltar, it’s going be interesting to see where he goes next! Before he made his trip down into Africa, he stopped off in Southern Spain at the Embalse de Cordobilla at a wetland reserve in the Andalusia region of Spain.

S1- 30th-31st

S1- 30th-31st Stop Over

S1- 30th

As for 30 and 4K the current data shows that both are still in the vicinity of Rutland, although with such beautiful weather, it is possible they will be leaving anytime!

Osprey Tracking

Down in Manton Bay things are exceedingly quiet, we still have the two adult birds but no sign of any of the chicks. Elsewhere it looks as though Rutland birds are starting to leave the UK on their own migrations back to their wintering grounds. We will soon be updating you on 30s’ progress as she starts her fifth migration with a satellite tag! What an incredible bird!

On the subject of migration and satellite tags we have some very exciting news, a couple of weeks ago two of the finest osprey experts in the country, Roy Dennis and Tim Mackrill, both from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation came down to Rutland to fit satellite trackers onto two birds. With the help of our own Lloyd Park, two male ospreys were selected: 4K(13) and S1(15), both of which have been holding territory but were unable to attract females this year. 

The tags fitted are the same as the one fitted to female 30, they weigh about 30g and will give detailed information on location, altitude and speed. The units are fitted to the birds like a small rucksack, allowing them to continue their normal activities.

This is very exciting news as it will allow us to follow these birds on their migration and also discover where they are overwintering, we will be sharing the information from the tags in the same way we share 30’s, on our interactive map and also in this blog. Aside from the scientific and conservation value of the tagging, the data provides an incredible educational resource and helps us to continue to link young people along the Osprey migration flyway. These latest tagged birds will form a key part of that work.

The two birds selected for tags this year were S1(15) you should recognise him, as he is a Manton Bay chick, who first returned in 2017, and 4K(13) who is from a site on private land and first returned to Rutland in 2015.

S1

S1

4K

4K

In fact S1 the youngest bird has already set off on his migration! At 14:00 on the 25th of August he left the UK crossing the English Channel between Brighton and Newhaven. By 17:00 he was in France. After what must have been a tiring crossing he stopped off overnight in woodland just east of Le Havre, in just one day he managed to clock up an amazing 377.98 km.

S1 25th August

On the 26th S1 continued his travels south, not stopping until he found another large piece of woodland east of Tours, and rested there overnight. The next morning he was back in skies, by now he must have been getting hungry, he only covered just less than 100 km before he found himself a nice lake north of Le Blanc to catch some dinner and rest up.

S1 26th- 27th August

S1 27th – 28th


 

Fishing spot north of Le Blanc

The break and food did its trick, as the next day he was off like a rocket, he made his way south-west towards the coastline and the Gironde estuary, a popular spot for migrating birds. S1 then continued on towards Arcachon Bay, stopping only when he found a large spot of woodland to the south-east of the bay.

S1 28th-29th August

Arcachon Bay S1

The next day S1 headed back towards the coastline, it looks as though he could have then used the coastline as a guide, as he follows it straight down until he reached the Pyrenees. From here he headed south east, and on the 30th of August passed over Madrid. Our last update from S1 showed him just south Madrid, over the past 5 days he has covered an amazing 1535.78 km. It’s really intriguing to see where he will end up; at this point in time it doesn’t look as though he is heading for Portugal, where some Rutland birds have been spotted over wintering, so most likely he is heading down to West Africa, just like 30.

S1 29th-30th August

The data from 4K and 30 show that both birds are still in Rutland, we hope to update you on their movements and add S1s’ migration onto the interactive map in the next few days.