One of the young Ospreys that fledged in 2011 has returned to Rutland for the very first time! Paul Stammers and volunteer Mick Lewin were the first people to see the youngster when he appeared in Manton Bay yesterday evening. Here is Paul’s report…
Paul’s Diary of a rainy night in Manton Bay – Saturday 11th May 2013
It had already been a long day after starting at 6am, but 6:30pm was fast approaching as I prepared for a guided walk at the Lyndon Reserve.
The skies were dark and the rain was falling as we set out on what seemed like a doomed evening walk. We entered Waderscrape Hide, pleased at last to be out of the rain, and we were greeted by the ever cheerful Mick Lewin.
The scopes were set up and we looked out on to the Osprey nest, the female seemed slightly uneasy so we scanned the sky for an intruder but none were seen. Then at 7:20pm a member of the group, Sharon Stacey, spotted an Osprey perched in the top of the dead tree just to the right of the hide. The tree was full of cormorants that had flown in to roost for the night. Scoped were focused on the bird, but with the thunderous skies the light was very bad and all we could see was that the bird had a blue ring on its right leg.
Frustration grew as we could not identify the number on the ring, then for a moment the sky cleared and we had a glimpse of sunlight. “It’s 33” called Sharon, which Mick and I were able to confirm. This was our first sighting of a 2011 bird!
33(11) was the only bird to fledge from the Site B nest in 2011 and some of you may recall his rather daring intrusion at Manton Bay towards the end of the 2011 season. We watched the bird for a few minutes, then he flew towards the nest but was challenged by 5R who drove the young intruder away.
Some time later I had a phone call from Site B and volunteer Fiona Castle told me that an intruder had just arrived and was sitting in a small ash tree. Fiona said she had read the ring and it was Blue 33, the sighting was confirmed. Hopefully this is the start of the arrival of the birds that fledged in Rutland in 2011.
Myself and the group slowly walked back to the Centre, wet through but very excited to be the first people to see a 2011 bird arrive back ‘home’ to Rutland Water for the very first time! Below is one of Mick’s photos of 33 on the dead tree in Manton Bay.
As Paul mentioned, 33 was the only chick to fledge from Site B in 2011. If you have seen a copy of Tim’s new book, The Rutland Water Ospreys, you may have already read the account of what happened at Site B that year. If you haven’t, here is Tim’s explanation about why 33 was an only child…
Despite the disappearance of 08(97), 2011 proved to be another encouraging year, with ten chicks fledging from four successful nests. Among the ten young Rutland Ospreys who set out on migration in early September was a single chick from Site B. Over the years we’ve come to expect 03(97) to raise two if not three chicks each year, but given events early in the spring at Site B, it was a relief that any young fledged successfully. The perils of semi-colonial nesting were highlighted early in the incubation period at Site B, when 09(98) – who at this stage of the season was still on his own – made repeated intrusions at the nest. These intrusions were far more aggressive than we had seen before and especially so when 03(97) was away fishing. On several successive mornings, 09(98) made repeated attempts to land on the nest, forcing the female to leave the eggs unattended in order to give chase. On one particularly cold morning, she left the eggs uncovered for at least 40 minutes. We feared that these intrusions would result in the nest failing completely, so it was a relief that one chick survived…
John was at Site B on 25th May 2011 and as his drawings below show, 33 had successfully hatched!
…Once 09(98) paired up with 5N, there were far fewer intrusions at Site B and 33 developed well…
…Within ten days of fledging 33 was venturing away from his nest for prolonged periods and even spent an afternoon on the Manton Bay nest where, despite the presence of three newly fledged juveniles, he was given a fish by 5R; a case of mistaken identity, we thought.
Here is the video showing 33’s afternoon in Manton Bay at the end of July 2011. For a full account of events that afternoon, click here.
Let’s hope we see 33 on a regular basis throughout the season. It’s more than likely that he will spend the summer exploring the local area and may even venture further afield. Fingers crossed for the safe return of other youngsters from the class of 2011.
For an up-to-date Who’s who, click here.