Phew, what a day! Over the last few days we have been getting increasingly concerned about the Manton Bay Ospreys – or rather the lack of Manton Bay Ospreys – but today all our fears have been allayed. As you will know if you have been watching the webcam this afternoon, both 33(11) AND Maya have returned to the nest today.
It all started at about 9am. We were adjusting the television screen in Waderscrape hide when I suddenly heard ‘eep eep eep eep’: the unmistakable call of a displaying Osprey. Myself and project volunteers Kathy Reynolds and John Blakey rushed to the windows, looked up and immediately caught sight of a male Osprey high above the bay; legs dangling, calling loudly. It had to be 33! Problems, though, were immediately apparent. The female Egyptian Goose had just laid an egg in the nest; meaning that 33 was’t going to be able to reclaim his nest easily. After five minutes of displaying he dive-bombed the nest, but as expected the geese sat tight. For the next fifteen minutes the geese stood firm in the face of ferocious dive-bombing from 33. It made for amazing viewing from the new wide-angle camera on the nest.
Eventually the geese retreated, but after alighting briefly on one of the t perches in the bay, 33 headed off to the south. Had he gone fishing?
After about half an hour 33 returned and this time he did land on the nest, albeit rather nervously. And for good reason: no sooner had he landed on the nest, than an Egyptian Goose appeared, like a rocket, to chase him off.
Moments later a female Osprey appeared over the nest. Earlier in the morning John Wright has seen the same unringed female intrude at the Site B nest; and from her underwing pattern, he was convinced that it was Maya. But why wasn’t she coming straight to the nest? After circling the bay, she headed off south, followed by 33.
Cue another anxious wait. In the Ospreys absence, the Egyptian Geese, somewhat surprisingly, appeared reluctant to come back to the nest; and this gave an opportunistic Carrion Crow the chance to repeat its trick of the previous evening. It flew straight to the nest and attempted to take the egg! The geese landed moments later, but were too late to save the egg.
With no goose egg in the nest, the scene was set for 33 and Maya to return. At 11:45am 33 appeared from the east and landed on the nest again. This time he seemed altogether more confident.
After a couple of minutes on the nest he headed off to the east, clearly in search of a fish. In his absence the Egyptian Geese returned to the nest a couple of times. However, having lost two eggs in the space of two days – and now with at least one Osprey back in residence – we suspected that they might give up on the nest. Sure enough, they didn’t linger for long.
Another hour-and-a-half passed before, finally, 33 appeared from east carrying a large trout. He took it to the leaning t perch at the west end of Manton Bay and tucked into his hard-earned meal.
At 2pm he suddenly flew to the nest with the fish and mantled. Three Ospreys appeared overhead: 25(10), 28(10) and 30(10) – the first time that we have seen 30 this spring. None of the birds lingered for long, though, and 33 returned to the t perch.
Another hour passed before 33 flew to the nest again. A second Osprey appeared from the south and made a bee-line for the nest. It was a female and she landed next to 33…
A quick look at the TV screen in the hide confirmed it was Maya – the distinctive X on the back of her head clearly visible. Fantastic!
After teasing her for a while – flying backwards and forwards between t perch and nest – 33 finally gave Maya the remains of the fish. Harmony had been restored. After a winter apart, the Manton Bay pair were back together.
While Maya tucked into the fish 33 began the domestic duties – scraping out the nest cup.
It has been a fantastic day – and one that we will all remember for a long time. We’ll have more news, photos and videos tomorrow, but for now it is just fantastic to see the two birds back together at the nest. Welcome home!