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Not yet gone

Birdfair is approaching, which means that August is nearing an end. The ospreys in Manton Bay are still with us though! Well, three of them are. We believe that the juvenile female, 2AN, left early on her migration on 29th July. This is the earliest recorded departure for a Rutland juvenile, but not for juveniles elsewhere in the UK. The adult birds, Maya and 33, and the juvenile male, 2AM, are all still present in Manton Bay and can be viewed easily from the Lyndon Nature Reserve.

The Lyndon Visitor Centre will close for the winter on Sunday 10th September, so there are only four weeks left to come and see the ospreys before it’s too late!

Manton Bay 2017 (JW)

Manton Bay 2017 (JW)

Maya dive-bombing cormorants (JW)

Maya dive-bombing cormorants (JW)

Maya chasing a marsh harrier (JW)

Maya chasing a marsh harrier (JW)

(JW)

(JW)

 

Other wildlife can also be seen readily from the reserve, ranging from birds to butterflies, wild flowers to water voles. Another marsh harrier was photographed at the weekend – here are the photos volunteer Matthew Blurton took of it hunting over the water. Thanks for these Mat!

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Last week we heard news from Tim Mackrill of the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation that, down south at Poole Harbour, one of our two-year-old ospreys had been spotted. CJ7 fledged from a nest in Rutland in 2015, and we haven’t seen her here yet, but she turned up at the osprey release site in Poole last Tuesday, and she was still there at the weekend! Click here to read the full story.  

CJ7

CJ7 with a Poole juvenile

 

At Birdfair this year we are collecting unwanted binoculars to help a wildlife education initiative in Uganda. Please bring any unwanted binoculars to the Rutland Ospreys Stand in the Outdoor Displays at the Birdfair! Click here for more details.

Uganda school 2

Site plan birdfair

 

 

Ospreys overhead

We’ve been lucky to enjoy some brilliant sunrises at Rutland recently and today was no exception. Here is 2AM on the nest this morning just after twenty-past five.

2AM on the nest

2AM on the nest


Pink clouds reflected in the water

Pink clouds reflected in the water


2AM spent much of the morning food-begging on the nest, and at quarter past nine 33 eventually delivered a large trout to the nest.

2AM spent some time on the nest happily eating, until Maya landed on the nest, when he then flew to the camera perch. Maya then spent some time picking up the leftover bits of fish messy-eater 2AM had left on the nest.


A few minutes later 2AM flew back to the nest, almost landing on Maya who took this as her cue to leave!

It wasn’t long before 2AM lost interest in the fish though, and then Maya returned to take the trout for herself.

This afternoon Maya also brought a little fish back to the nest for 2AM. We have seen a few of these smaller fish being brought back to the nest lately and we expect that they are being caught in Manton Bay.

Other than that today has been relatively quiet, with the only other action being 33 dropping a large stick right in the middle of the nest this afternoon.

Yesterday was a slightly more action-packed day, with plenty of intruders overhead for our visitors in Waderscrape hide to witness. Here is the first of one of many mantling efforts from 33 throughout yesterday morning!

In this video 33 joins 2AM to mantle on the nest.

And in this clip an intruder seems to catch 33 off guard as he drops into mantling position partway through rearranging sticks on the nest!

Funny fish

We had a great day at Lyndon yesterday ahead of the evening cruise. Plenty of cruise-goers came to visit Maya, 33 and 2AM in Manton Bay and attended one of our talks before heading over to Whitwell in the evening for the boat trip. At around 4.15pm we were initially a little worried when 33 brought a fish to the nest – did this mean we wouldn’t see him on the cruise later? We didn’t need to worry though as the fish was tiny – definitely not big enough to last our family the whole evening.

A light snack for 2AM

A light snack for 2AM

If you book onto a cruise there is an optional osprey talk to attend earlier in the day

If you book onto a cruise there is an optional osprey talk to attend earlier in the day

Once on the boat, Paul Stammers called volunteer Peter in Waderscrape hide to check on the whereabouts of the Manton Bay family. Peter said that all the birds were in sight and 33 had brought another fish to the nest at half 5, just as the Rutland Belle was setting off from Whitwell. Peter did say that it was another tiny fish though – maybe there was hope that 33 would fish again?

2AM grabbed 33's foot when taking the fish from him this time!

2AM grabbed 33’s foot when taking the fish from him this time!


Luckily, after a couple of very distant views of ospreys, 33 did indeed head out again fishing – and this time we saw him catch a big trout! We got great views as he came up out of the water, and with the wind against 33, Captain Matt managed to keep the Rutland Belle alongside him for a while as he made his way back to the nest. Fantastic! We know from the video footage that 33 ate the head of the trout before eventually bringing it to the nest at 7pm.

Only on getting to the centre this morning did we realise that as well as 33’s contributions last night, Maya had also caught a fish yesterday evening. Another tiny one, at 18.45 – so 2AM was a very well fed bird yesterday.

Earlier in the day 2AM seemed to be a bit flummoxed by something on the nest – it was a fish, but it was old and tough. He had a go at eating it, and moved it around a little, before eventually leaving it.

We weren’t sure where this fish had come from until we looked back at the footage – it looks like this fish had fallen from the nest some time ago and had become lodged on some sticks down the side. It was dragged up to the nest platform yesterday by a crow, who had a good go at eating it before leaving it to the ospreys.

There are now only 5 spaces left on our final cruise of the season, so if you’d like to book a place, click here.

Let us prey

It’s been another beautiful day in Manton Bay, and though the ospreys have not been on the nest very much, many happy people have wandered the well-trodden footpath to Waderscrape and seen them sitting in the bay and flying past the hide.

Here is a photo of 2AM on the nest as the sun was rising this morning.

More sun

In addition to our wonderful ospreys, there are several other birds of prey on the nature reserve. To name just a few, we often see buzzards and red kites flying over Manton Bay, there are both barn owls and little owls nearby, and recently there have been sightings of marsh harriers and sparrowhawks!

The sparrowhawk was seen on Monday evening when volunteers Mick and Malcolm were on duty. It swooped down in front of the hide, and grabbed a water rail which had been foraging on the edge of the reedbed! Thanks to Mick Spencer for these amazing shots of the sparrowhawk. Don’t worry if you’re squeamish, you can’t see the water rail in the photographs.

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Volunteer Jan Warren also witnessed a spectacular bird of prey spectacle on her latest shift – a marsh harrier catching a moorhen! Thanks to Jan for the following video footage of it!

Finally, here is another sunrise shot – look at the beautiful colours in those rays!

Rainbow rays

 

 

 

Soon I will be gone

Today’s weather is certainly an improvement on the last couple of days! Who knew the sun shone in summer?! Luckily for those on last night’s osprey cruise, the weather cleared up shortly before sailing and it didn’t rain all evening. It was a bit windy, but that didn’t stop everyone enjoying the sight of an osprey sitting on the limnological tower (again!) and the incredible spectacle of an osprey diving from a height, crashing into the water and coming out with a great big trout!

Osprey with fish (JW)

Osprey with fish (JW)

 

There is only one osprey cruise left with availability this season – Saturday 26th August. Click here for tickets!

This morning saw an influx of ospreys in Manton Bay – there was a riot of activity when seven ospreys were seen in the bay all at once! One of the “intruding” birds was definitely 1J, the four-year-old male who fledged from Manton Bay in 2013. We know this as he landed on the nest again, as he did on 31st July. Here he is on the nest, where he stayed for around two minutes.

1J on the nest

1J on the nest

1J again

Despite the rain, there has still been lots of osprey action in the bay in recent days. Plenty of fish have been delivered to the nest for 2AM, who is getting stronger and more confident by the day, and will soon be thinking about heading south. On Tuesday it was like Christmas for him, as Maya delivered a fish to the nest, then immediately after she had flown off, 33 delivered another one! 2AM didn’t know what to do!

A very fresh pike was brought in by 33 this morning, and it jumped around in the nest before 2AM managed to get hold of it.

Here is 33 bringing in that nice bit of green turf adorning the nest!

There has still been no sign of 2AN around the area, and we now don’t expect to see her return. We think it’s likely that 2AN has migrated, as she has always been a strong, bold individual who matured rapidly. She had been on the wing for almost four weeks before her disappearance, and was demonstrating behaviour that indicated her readiness to go. After finding out that Roy Dennis has seen some juveniles migrate just three weeks after fledging, we are even more hopeful that this is what 2AN has done.

Should we hear anything about her whereabouts we’ll be sure to shout about it immediately!

2AN at sunrise, 13th July

2AN at sunrise, 13th July

 

Some of the other ospreys from around the area have now set off on their migrations, so the end of the season is drawing near. It’s been a wonderful season, with eight breeding pairs, 16 chicks hatching and being ringed, and 15 making it to fledging. In addition to the breeding birds there were also eight non-breeding ospreys in the area, and we know of four two-year-olds returning for the first time – two to Rutland, one to Poole and one was seen in the Netherlands!

We are celebrating the season and raising vital funds for the project whilst having a good time on Friday 8th September in Manton Village Hall, where we are holding a barn dance! It promises to be a fun filled evening, with an all-you-can-eat hog roast included in the price of £20, a raffle with amazing prizes and a bar on site.

We only have a limited amount of tickets, so please click here to buy yours now! 

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