As the summer progresses, intruding Ospreys will become frequent visitors to the Manton Bay, Site B and Site N nests. Roy Dennis’s research in Scotland has shown that young Ospreys prefer to take over established nests, rather than build their own from scratch; meaning returning two and three-year-old birds are drawn to these nests as they build-up their knowledge of potential future breeding sites.
This habit of being drawn to established nests, means that Manton Bay is a great place for us to look out for new birds. This was demonstrated a couple of weeks ago when 28(10) landed in the dead tree in front of Waderscrape hide where Peter and Di Pritchard were able to read his colour-ring. Since then 28 has been a frequent visitor to both Manton Bay and Site B.
The problem with intruding birds, however, is that, unlike 28(10), they are rarely allowed to land. Often 5R or his mate will chase them off before they have a chance to perch anywhere for more than a few seconds. This makes identifying each individual very difficult. We, however, have a secret weapon at our disposal: John Wright. In the last few days John has taken countless photos of intruding Ospreys in Manton Bay and by examining his best shots closely, John has been able to identify not one, but two new birds.
The first is a bird we were expecting to return. Earlier in the spring we received an e-mail from Adolfo Villaverde saying that he had identified 11(10) at the Villaviciosa estuary in northern Spain. This two year-old male, who fledged from Site N in 2010, was seen at the estuary for a few days before, presumably, continuing his journey north. We wondered how soon it would be before he returned to Rutland Water, and now we have an answer. On Sunday and then again on Monday this week, John photographed a male intruding at Manton Bay that he was later able to identify as 11(10)- here’s the photo that enabled John to clinch the identification.
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, John then had a look through the photos he had taken of another mystery male. After scrutinising several different images, he was able to identify the bird as 30(10). 30, another male, was one of three chicks that fledged from the Manton Bay nest in 2010 – so if you were watching the webcam that year, you’ll have watched 30 grow-up! To read about summer 2010, check out the 2010 Reserve Diary. 30 is the first ever Manton Bay chick to return, but that still didn’t mean he received a warm welcome in the bay – he was quickly chased off by his father, 5R.
It is really encouraging to have three males back in Rutland. It means that we now have five of the 12 chicks who fledged from nests in the Rutland Water area in 2010, back in the UK. In addition to the three males, 12(10) intruded at the Cors Dyfi nest in mid-Wales on 21st May and recent photographs suggest that 24(10) is summering at Arlington reservoir in Sussex. This really does demonstrate how the population of Ospreys in the south of the UK is going from strength to strength. And who knows how many more of the 2010 contingent will also make it back? I certainly wouldn’t bet against us seeing at least one more bird from that year, before the summer is out. One thing we can be certain of, though, is that John’s camera is going to be working over-time over the coming weeks!