Today has definitely not been the day to be an Osprey on an extremely exposed nest in the middle of Rutland Water. As you’ll know if you’ve been watching the webcam, the Manton Bay nest has been buffeted by very strong winds all day. On top of that we had torrential rain for most of the morning, which made life very uncomfortable for Maya as she brooded the chicks on the nest. At such a young age the chicks are vulnerable to cold, wet weather and so Maya did her best to keep them dry. At times you could really see how uncomfortable she must have been in the driving rain.
Even when 33 brought a perch to the nest, Maya was reluctant to feed the chicks. After a minute or so the rain became heavier and she chose to brood the chicks rather than feed them; keeping them warm was obviously the main priority. In this short clip you can tell that she is unsure what to do. When the rain eventually cleared around lunchtime the chicks missed out again because, in the intervening period, 33 had returned to the nest, taken the fish and eaten it all himself!
Knowing that his family would be getting hungry by now, 33 spent much of the afternoon fishing. Strong winds are a hunting Osprey’s worst enemy and 33 really struggled to catch. Maya, meanwhile, was doing her best to shelter from the strong wind; lowering her head below the edge of the nest to try and shelter. Several people got in touch worried that she was unwell; but in fact it seems she was merely trying to get out of the wind – and was probably also very tired after such a demanding day.
Eventually 33 caught a good-sized perch in Heron Bay, close to the nest. He took it straight to the nest and Maya fed the hungry chicks. Like yesterday, the largest of the brood was very aggressive at first.
It wasn’t long though before all three youngsters were lined up together and getting more of an equal share of the fish.
Perch isn’t the only fish species that 33 has caught in the past few days. Yesterday evening John Wright was at the nest when 33 returned with a large trout. John got a great video of 33 struggling with the fish on the t perch close to the nest. This video demonstrates how superbly well-adapted Ospreys are to holding on to their fish – it is amazing that he didn’t drop it immediately!
The weather has improved this evening and there is a better forecast for tomorrow. Let’s hope Maya and her family have an easier day…