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Higher and higher..

A far cooler sunday here at Osprey HQ where our stationary is no longer melting and we aren’t pressing our faces against the ice-cream freezer door, Saturday was a real scorcher! We had a fantastic evening on our Osprey cruise, seeing three separate Ospreys, one of which was a very privileged view of 33 fishing!

Today the chicks are finding their energy again after sitting still on the nest all day yesterday, and 055 in particular has his head in the clouds! This morning we saw a seriously impressive take off and landing by our eldest male chick, taking off from the nest and actually disappearing from the camera view, much to the surprise of his siblings!

As the morning progressed, this plucky fella attempted this high flying behaviour again, landing on his sister 054 rather clumsily, but also encouraging his sister, 057 to give it a go too!

We’re starting to see a lot of adult behaviours trickling through now, taking on from their architect parents and helping to rearrange the nest material which 33 brings in. Unfortunately 33 appears to be showing the chicks how to arrange the nest by wrestling with them!

The chicks are only a week or so from fledging and so we should expect to see more of this take off and landing behaviour as they gain more confidence!

Thursday updates

At 07.45 this morning 33 returned from fishing with this huge roach! Maya promptly relieved him of it and all of the chicks stood up in anticipation of getting a good feed. However then no-one seemed to know quite what to do and we thought maybe the sheer size of the fish was just too overwhelming! However all became clear a few minutes later that Maya did not want to share as she proceeded to eat most of the fish herself!

Shortly afterwards all 6 members of the family were together again as 33 returned to the nest to mantle as there was another intrusion in the bay from one of the unpaired males from the area.

The sun has finally started to shine again here in Rutland and in particular Saturday is looking like a scorcher! At the time of writing there are still a few places left on our evening Osprey cruise so book now before they get snapped up!

Tri hard or go home!

Tri hard or go home!

Many of you may remember the fantastic volunteer Roger ‘the Rabbit’ Keightley who took on the monumental challenge of the Dambuster traithlon and was good enough to suffer and sweat and train hard for it, in the name of the Rutland Osprey Project.

Through months of training, conditioning, eating right and pacing himself, Roger and I swapped notes as he got closer to the event, and his enthusiasm for the race was evident. I looked forward each week to finding out how many miles he’d put in on the bike, how the swims were going, and how far he’d gone on the treadmill. It was as if we were all doing the race with him!

The weekend before the race is always the time when most of us experience doubt, feel twinges or aches that haven’t been there before, and even start tp question why we’re doing the race at all! I’ve experienced this last minute jitters myself and I could tell Roger was worried about these unexplained aches and creeping twinges that hadn’t been there before. But with a little encouragement and advice from some fellow runners in the office and volunteers, he resolved to gently ease himself into the last week and not give in too much to rest!

On the big day, Roger turned up in a massive way, completing his first triathlon in 3 hours and 35mins, which made him 2nd in his age group. He raised 101% of his fundraising target: a whopping £759! I am so proud of everything he has done and everyone at the Osprey team is in awe of his determination, enthusiasm and enthusiasm for not only a very physically demanding event, but for a cause he is passionate about. It shows anything is possible with enough training and the mindset to go with it. It is a reminder that we can all achieve things we never thought possible, and be rewarded for our efforts with drastic changes to our physical ability, mental strength and general health and wellbeing.

Mixed messages I felt were being given by the prize Roger received for all his hard training nutritionally: a bottle of wine! Although I suppose he’s earned it after all. Don’t drink it all at once!

Huge thank you to everyone who has supported Roger, and of course from everyone involved with the Osprey project, we say a huge congratulations and thank you for Roger’s kind fundraising for our project, it will make such a difference! Now, where are my running shoes… I’ve got race envy!

Acrobatic antics

Monday madness set in a little on the Manton Bay nest as the chicks get bigger and bigger, their wings are getting restless and the space is dwindling for them to move around!

The chicks had many good feeds yesterday, including a feed where the chicks look like they’re dropping an awful lot of it or being fussy as Maya tears off chunks for them.

The weather was rather humid yesterday, and we saw the chicks gathered at the edges of the nest in an attempt to keep as far away from each other as possible. You can see their tongues as they pant to cool off.

And when the chicks were expecting another feed in the afternoon, they had a rather clumsy surprise from Maya dropping a stick on 055’s head. Her son wasn’t impressed and took the stick completely off his mother and tried to rearrange it better on the nest.. we’re starting to see hints of the inner architect emerge! She quickly wrestled the stick back and moved it around until she was happy.

The chicks experienced a wetter day today but have waterproofing on their feathers now so can withstand the cold a little easier. They are 6 weeks old now and it won’t be long before they start to fledge!

Vital statistics

When the Rutland osprey chicks are ringed, the trained staff seize the opportunity to take measurements of the birds and weigh them while they are in the hand. This furthers our understanding of osprey ecology and helps indicate the sex of the birds.

As well as being heavier than males, females are generally the chunkier of the sexes. Females tend to have thicker bills, legs and larger heads and this is usually noticeable as early as around five weeks old when the chicks are ringed. It is worth remembering, however, that the female chick 057 is by far the youngest of the brood (having hatched six days later than the first two chicks and four days after the third), therefore the sexual dimorphism usually seen in ospreys isn’t so marked and some of her biometrics are actually a little smaller than her male siblings.

Biometric measurements of Manton Bay chicks 21-06-2019

BTO ring no.Colour ring no.SexBill to cere (mm)Bill depth (mm)Head inc. bill (mm)Tarsus length (mm)Tarsus thickness (mm)Wing length (mm)Weight (g)
1380 101054F30.119.17960153481620
1380 102055M26.918.77857.3143441400
1380 103056M26.617.477.95814.93001440
1380 104057F25188063.3162831620

The ringing of the osprey chicks is conducted as quietly and efficiently as possible by our trained ringer, in order to keep stress to the osprey chicks and the adult birds (as well as Wildlife Trust staff undertaking the work) to a minimum. The welfare of the birds comes first and is prioritised above all else.