It felt like spring over the weekend. Chiffchaffs were singing around the reserve, Buzzards and Red Kites were displaying and the first butterflies – Commas and Brimstones – were on the wing. All we needed now was an Osprey. We spent much of Saturday finishing various last minute jobs – adjusting the Manton Bay nest camera, pruning an Ash tree near the Site B nest (to provide a convenient perching place) and getting the Lyndon Visitor Centre ready for opening today. As we worked it seemed like an Osprey could drop out of the sky at any moment. 03(97) had returned on 19th March last year, so there was every chance…
However by evening all the nest sites were still vacant. Maybe things would change on Sunday? By late morning early cloud had dissipated, giving way to clear skies. Perfect migration weather. As if on cue, a visitor reported an Osprey over the lagoons at Egleton. Could it be a Rutland bird making its long-awaited return?
John Wright drove to Site B, and sure enough there was an Osprey on the nest. It was 03(97), back for what we hope will be his eleventh year of breeding. Fantastic! 03 looked resplendent in the beautiful spring sunlight. He showed no signs of fatigue after his long migration, and immediately set about building up the nest, helping himself to some of the ash branches we had pruned the morning before! As usual the local crows gave him a bit of hassle to welcome him home, but that didn’t last long. 03’s return was 24 hours later than last spring, but exactly the same as 2009. And that after flying 3000 miles. Remarkable.
03 has raised the remarkable tally of 23 chicks since he first bred at Site B in 2001, let’s hope he adds to that this year. Last year his mate returned on 4thApril. I wonder how long he and us will have to wait this year? It goes without saying that we will be keeping a close eye over the nest over the coming days.