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1F(12) The aggressive male

Meet the next generation of Site B chicks…

At 2pm on Thursday 28th June we were worried. In less than two hours we were due to be ringing the Site B chicks and Tim and I had just seen a flash of lightning from the office window. After a quick phone call to Site B we were relieved to find out that somehow the bad weather had completely missed them and the nest was bathed in sunlight. The ringing was still on.  As usual local tree surgeon Mark Ashman kindly offered his services; the tree is too dangerous to climb, but Mark’s cherry picker is just the job for reaching the nest with ease.

Mark Ashman and a wary parent

This year we have been given a consecutive set of Darvic rings, all with a one digit number and the letter F. Site B has got the ball rolling and we ringed each chick with a blue colour ring on its right leg – numbered 1F, 2F and 3F. At this stage we believe there is a female and two males, one of which was very aggressive. When we saw the three chicks it was hard to believe that 43 days had passed since the first sign of hatching, they were all in fantastic condition and it won’t be long until they take to the air for the first time. Mr Rutland certainly has done it again!

3F(12) The youngest male

The female 2F(12) in front and 3F(12) behind

1F(12) The aggressive male

The new female, either 25(10) or 26(10)

Another new arrival!

For Rutland Ospreys, 2010 is proving to be a very good year. Following the recent arrivals of 28(10), 30(10) and 11(10),  a fourth two-year-old has returned home to Rutland Water. Yesterday evening John spotted a new female that he didn’t recognise and although she didn’t stay around long enough for him to have a clear view of her Darvic ring, she is either 25(10) or 26(10). We are hoping that the new arrival will follow in the footsteps of other youngsters and visit some of the nests. If she does, we should be able to identify who she is.  One thing is for sure, she is now the SIXTH Osprey from the class of 2010 to return to the UK. Fantastic news!

We have had no intruding Ospreys in Manton Bay today so the pair have just had to contend with very changeable weather. Despite the wind and the rain, 5R has managed to bring in three fish including a large Bream. Whilst the five-week-old chicks may not be aware of the new arrivals, their parents certainly will be. As we left the centre this evening we were treated to a view of the whole family, two full and content chicks and both adults sitting vigilantly on the nest.

Look what I can do!

Earlier today one of the chicks was testing out its wings and had a good practice at flapping. Its sibling sat to one side, perhaps thinking, like most of us, it looked like far too much effort on such a warm & humid day! You can still see the tail end of a trout in the nest which 5R bought in first thing this morning.

The Manton Bay nest seems to have been in it’s own micro climate today, as the heavens opened above the centre the nest remained perfectly dry and unaffected by the mini deluge.

AW’s old mate has been intruding in the bay again this afternoon. She came down and actually landed on the nest before 5R chased her off. Obviously happy that she has left them in peace 5R has just bought in another fish for tea.

30(10) intruding at Manton Bay

The boys are back in town…

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.

11(10) intruding in Manton Bay

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.

30(10) intruding at Manton Bay

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!


To me…to you!

With the chicks taking up much more space in the nest there wasn’t much room for 5R to manoeuvre an awkward stick around this morning.
One of the chicks looked frustrated by being knocked about by the stick as 5R tried his best to tuck it out of the way. Clearly not impressed by his housekeeping efforts the female moved in, clobbered him on the head and had a go at repositioning it herself.
After a bout of tug of war they finally seemed content with its location in the nest.

This afternoon 5R went back to what he does best and bought in a medium sized Pike for the youngsters and the female. He will probably head out again this evening to find a meal for himself.