Rhythm of the rain

The morning dawned rather cold and wet, not quite the weather we had hoped for on our first dawn Osprey cruise of 2015. However, it could have been a lot worse! There wasn’t any wind whipping up waves, which meant that fishing conditions weren’t too bad. We didn’t get too wet, either, as the rain kindly eased as we left Whitwell Harbour.

Luckily for us, we saw an Osprey almost immediately! It was 28(10), always identifiable by his slightly damaged right wing. He’s a star on cruises, as he’s almost always out fishing at just the right time! 28 is my favourite Osprey for many reasons, and it’s fabulous to keep seeing him on these cruises. He had caught a fish and was flying away with it at the time we saw him. Later, though, he was back again and trying to catch another one! He circled towards the boat and came very close, then he drifted away again, then circled back. We saw him almost dive about three times – he would begin to stoop, but then pull out before he was even halfway towards the water. Eventually he drifted too far from us and we lost sight.

28(10), taken by Steph Murphy

28(10), taken by Steph Murphy

 

We also saw 33 briefly, but it didn’t take him long to catch a fish and disappear back to his nest! He sneaked up on us as we were heading back down the south arm, and we saw him dive. He must have plucked the fish off the surface of the water, though, as it didn’t look like he even made a splash! Perhaps the fish was dead and floating, or just swimming extremely close to the surface. He delivered this fish to the nest, and on our return to Lyndon we saw Maya feeding it to the chicks.

Maya feeding the chicks

Maya feeding the chicks

 

It was a very enjoyable cruise, despite the inclement weather, and we all had superb views of flying Ospreys. We saw another one over the peninsula as we were heading back to shore, but we couldn’t hang about as breakfast was ready! Needless to say everyone was delighted with the excellent breakfast put on by Paul and his team of volunteers, it was much appreciated!

The rain abated as we began the cruise, and it waited until we had left Whitwell before it began again! Maya spent a lot of time today trying to cover the chicks to keep them out of the rain. They are very big now, though, and it’s hard for her to shield them all.

Maya, chicks, rain and roach

Maya, chicks, rain and roach

Maya sits on the chicks

Maya sits on the chicks

Maya and the chicks huddled

Maya protecting the chicks

 

33 came back for the roach he had delivered earlier, and took it away to eat on the T-perch. He didn’t look too happy either, sitting in the rain.

33 on the T

33 on the T

 

A short while later, he brought it back to the nest and Maya fed the chicks again.

Later still, the rain eased a bit, and Maya felt able to leave the chicks on the nest whilst she sat on the camera perch and watched them from there. They were moving about a lot again, trying to stand up and even walk on their large clumsy-looking feet!

Standing up

Standing up

Chick moving around

Chick moving around

 

You can see from the pictures and videos above, that the back of the nest (as we look at it on the camera) has been built up a fair bit recently, with more sticks and material forming a barrier. This is probably due to the chicks’ increased sense of adventure, to stop them getting too close to the edge!

The zoom on this year’s nest camera is superb, and I love playing around with it. Here are a few pictures I took of the chicks today. They look even more like Ospreys now! The feather pins are pushing through, particularly the primaries, and their faces are developing into perfect miniature Ospreys. The eyes are turning that lovely deep shade of amber, too.

Zoomed in

Zoomed in

Are you looking at me?

Are you looking at me?

Huddling together for warmth

Huddling together for warmth

Zoomed out

What a colourful nest it is