What an incredible day! As if it wasn’t enough excitement having chick number one hatch, chick number two hatches the very next day!
But let me start at the beginning…
This is how the day began. It was a beautiful scene over the Osprey nest in Manton Bay this morning, and I felt privileged to be able to watch the sun rise behind these incredible birds.
I watched and waited for hours, hoping for a fish delivery, and to capture on camera the first time the chick was fed. However, 33 didn’t come back to the nest with a fish until about 15:30! At the time, I was at Egleton, about to begin the introductory talk before our first 2015 Osprey Cruise. Luckily my colleague Anya was on hand in the centre to let me know what was happening, and to record the moment! Here’s the fish coming in! It’s great that he knows to bring the whole fish to the nest now.
Whilst our cruise guests had a cup of tea and settled in, I turned on the webcam for them on the big screen so everyone could watch the chick being fed. What a precious moment! I love watching Ospreys around their young, they are such superb parents. Ospreys are big birds, armed with such formidable weapons as those sharp talons and large beak, and yet when they are around their young they tuck those talons in tight, and are so supremely gentle when they feed their chicks, it is a beautiful thing to witness.
Next came the cruise. It was our first Osprey Cruise of 2015, and it could not have gone better! The weather was lovely, and we were in high spirits as we boarded the Rutland Belle. We saw an Osprey in the North Arm, then one over the dam, then we entered the South Arm, and the fun began! We had a great view of an Osprey in front of us who dived, and splashed about for ages on the surface of the water before giving up on a fish that must have been too big for him. He rose again, and we noticed another Osprey coming into view behind him! Two Ospreys! One of which we could easily identify as 28(10), due to his slightly wonky right wing, and the other was 33(11), as volunteer on duty Mick had phoned to tell me he had left the bay.
We watched the two of them happily, thinking it was great, then another Osprey joined the party! So we had three Ospreys all together, so close that we could see all three in the field of vision of our binoculars! Wow!
But it wasn’t over, oh no, not yet! After a superb very close fly-by of the boat by 28, the three birds dispersed, and we began our homeward journey towards Whitwell, feeling fabulous! Then who should appear on our port side but 28! He flew alongside at a distance, and was keeping pace with the boat all the way back to the harbour, and we watched him right up until we had docked at the quayside. What a way for the cruise to end!
If all of that wasn’t exciting enough in itself, whilst we were on board the boat, Mick phoned to say the second chick was hatching! I quickly rang Anya, who was luckily still at Lyndon, and she recorded the moment the second chick hatched!
It took it quite a while to free itself from the bottom half of the shell, and I was able to rush back round to the centre after the cruise in time to see it come out completely!
We didn’t expect the second chick to follow the first so closely, normally it’s a couple of days between each hatching. It was also very close in timing to the first chick yesterday. So when will the third chick hatch? Same time tomorrow? Keep your eye on the webcam!