One of the most encouraging aspects of the project over the last few years has been the excellent return rate of Rutland-fledged Ospreys. Earlier this week I heard from Emyr Evans that 03(08) had laid her third egg at Cors Dyfi in Wales. 03 was the seventh Site B chick to make it back to the UK (the six previous ones had all returned to Rutland). This meat that over a third of the young Rutland Ospreys now old enough to return, had made it back; a better return rate than those observed in both Scotland and France. Proof, if it was needed of what a good place Rutland Water is for the birds. Going on this excellent return rate, it is not unreasonable to expect as many as three of the nine chicks who fledged from nests in Rutland in 2009, to return.
The great news is that we’re a third of the way there already.
On Wednesday afternoon an Osprey intruded at Site B, forcing the incubating female to leave the nest unattended for a few minutes. If you have been following the website recently you won’t be surprised to know that the volunteers on duty, Andy and Anne Strang, inititally suspected that this was 09(98 ). On closer inspection though the bird looked more like a female. Frustratingly though she didn’t land anywhere to allow her ring to be read. Fast forward a couple of hours though and the bird appeared again – this time intruding at the Manton Bay nest. After catching a trout close to the nest, it flew to Tufted Duck hide.
Peter and Di Pritchard, on duty in Waderscrape hide, phoned the centre to say that the bird had a blue ring on it’s right leg. John Wright rushed down to the hide and read the ring – it was blue/white 00 – a female who fledged from the Site B nest in 2009 (photo above). Her return is very early for a two year-old bird and therefore an extremely encouraging sign. Although almost certain not to breed this year, she is likely to linger around Rutland Water for the rest of the summer and then return earlier next year, perhaps to raise a family of her own. For the time being though we are just thrilled to see her back. Here is Pete and Di’s account of an exciting afternoon’s volunteering
“We were thrilled to see a great Osprey event on Wednesday afternoon, the return of 00(09) to RW. The sequence of events was as follows- 5R was away, and the female was incubating when an osprey we assumed to be 5R appeared overhead from behind Waderscrape, obviously fishing. It very quickly stooped from quite high to take a good sized trout just beyond the MB bund. Returning to flight it was heavily mobbed by gulls and climbed to a good height, circling and not trying to go towards the nest. Breaking away from the gulls it went to the dead tree near Tufted Duck hide.
From Waderscrape we could now see that it had a blue ring. Unnoticed 5R had returned to the nest and taken over incubation, and so at this point we radioed to Lyndon that we had 3 ospreys in MB. I decided to walk back towards Tufted Duck in the hope of identifing the newcomer. The new bird was in the dead tree eating its fish and I got a couple of photos from behind bushes, but could not quite read the ring, thinking it would be better to be undercover in the hide I walked towards the hide at which point the bird flew off!!! Oh dear, but John had got the number. As I returned to Waderscrape, Di was able to follow events at the nest. As 00 approached, the female joined 5R on the nest and both birds wing flapped and mantled on the nest. Undetered 00, still carrying the fish, alighted briefly on the french perch, before 5R took off and drove 00 away, following her out of sight over Lax Hill. 5R eventually returned to the nest with a small fish. When Andy & Anne arrived at 5pm they said they had a visit from an osprey at site B earlier in the afternoon which they thought had a blue ring. So a quiet afternoon had turned out very exciting with the return really early of a Site B chick.”