A Sky Full of Ospreys

The osprey team have led 3 osprey cruises this week on board the Rutland Belle – one for the public on Wednesday, and two for the charity Warning Zone – and there’s still another public cruise to go tomorrow night! Luckily for our guests this is a great time of year to see ospreys at Rutland, with male birds busy collecting fish for their families and young birds beginning to stretch their wings too.
I was lucky enough to be on board last night, with volunteers Libby and Liz. We’d been on the water less than 5 minutes when we saw our first osprey, and after that it seemed to be wall to wall birds for the next hour or so.

51 making an appearance on a previous cruise
Photo Credit: Leon Kirkbride

We think that we probably saw 3, maybe 4, birds in total, making appearances again and again. The real highlight of the night was seeing an osprey diving to catch a fish not far from us as we sailed along the south arm. The bird did not seem phased by us on the Rutland Belle, or the 20 sailing boats nearby which had set out from the sailing club, catching a fish on his first attempt and flying it back to his family.

We still have a few tickets left for tomorrow nights cruise (Saturday 14th July) – please give us a call on 01572 770651 if you’d like to book a place, or to book online click here. It really is the perfect time of year to get out on the water, and our current weather makes the experience even better!

Maya with the eggs - can you spot the hole created by the osprey chick's egg tooth?

A cracking day at Manton Bay

Today marks day 37 of incubation, the day that chicks often hatch, so when Information Officer Paul Stammers arrived at the centre this morning he was very excited – would today be the day…?

…Yes it would! Just a few minutes ago we got the first view of our fully hatched chick. Volunteer Chris was in Waderscrape hide this morning when he noticed the first sign of hatching – a tiny hole in one of the eggs. Paul managed to capture the moment on the webcam.

Maya with the eggs – can you spot the hole created by the osprey chick’s egg tooth on the far left egg?

We were then in for a tense wait, as Maya settled back down on the eggs, restlessly shuffling backwards and forwards, but never giving us a very good view of the eggs underneath her. Finally, just before the centre was about to close for the day, we got our first glimpse of the freshly hatched chick – the first osprey chick to hatch in the UK this year as far as we know!

The first chick!

Shortly after this capture, Maya and 33 returned to the nest and we got a good view of the whole family.

Maya, 33, and chick number 1

The weather has been fantastic here in Rutland today, a wonderful day for a chick to hatch, and it looks like it should remain lovely for the next few days too, which is great news for the next 2 eggs. Exciting times ahead!

We’ve also had some moth-trapping going on at the reserve today – our volunteer moth recorders caught 24 moths of 11 species. Paul Stammers captured some photos of the moths, before they were released by young visitors to the centre this morning.

Waved umber moth

Swallow prominent moth

Purple thorn moth

33 inspecting the eggs, which have remained intact so far today!

Egg watch and bird ringing

A blog post by Information Officer Paul Stammers

Friday May 4th at the Lyndon Visitor Centre

I arrived at the centre today to be greeted by a team of bird ringers and staff members carrying out their breeding bird surveys.

The bird ringing team of Garry, Candice and Holly had had a good morning, catching numbers of garden warblers, a few lesser whitethroat and a selection of long tailed tit, song thrush, dunnock, willow warbler, wren plus other species! In total the team processed 36 birds, some new birds and some re-traps. The bird ringers arrived on site at around 4.30am and continued through till lunch time.

Willow warbler


My next task was to set the centre up for the day, I switched the TV monitor on to find Maya sitting tightly on the three eggs, 36 days of incubation complete – we expect hatching any time now. Over the last few days the weather has warmed up, and both birds have been very busy rearranging the nest sticks and bringing in more lining for the nest.

At 8.45am, 33 arrived back at the nest to take his turn incubating – no signs of hatching!

Maya and 33 both on the nest

This weekend we should see our first chick, so it’s a great time to visit the Lyndon reserve, which is open 9 – 5 every day of the week!

33 - waiting to incubate?

3 eggs in Manton Bay

Information Officer Paul Stammers arrived at the centre this morning to a phone call from volunteers Tom and Ann, down in Waderscrape hide, letting him know there was a third egg! Very exciting news to start the day with.

Looking back over last nights footage, we saw that at around half past midnight Maya stood up from the nest revealing 2 eggs. 33 soon landed next to her, most likely hoping to take over incubation duties, but Maya quickly settled back down on the eggs.

33 stayed on the nest with Maya for quite some time.

33 – waiting to incubate?

At 1.44am, 33 finally took off – having been with Maya on the nest for over an hour. Two minutes later, Maya rose again, and below her were 3 eggs!

First glimpse at 1.46am

33 did get his chance at incubating later in the morning though – here he is at 5.05am.

33 with 3 eggs

We are very pleased to have 3 eggs in Manton Bay. It will be interesting to see if we get a fourth again, like last season – keep your eyes on the nest over the next few days!

30(05)'s latest movements - has she flown over you today?

30’s back in the UK!

We have some great news to share with you this morning – 30(05) is back in the country!

30(05) was 50 miles away at 10am today

We first checked on her this morning as soon as we arrived at the Lyndon Centre, and we were disappointed to see no new data had been sent through since the 31st March. Information Officer Paul Stammers had a hunch we should check again later in the afternoon though, and his hunch was a good one – we’d received more data and 30 had made her journey over the Channel! We could see that she’d made it to Bedford at 10am this morning, a mere 50 miles from Rutland water. We expect she will arrive back at her nest later this afternoon – she might even be there now.

30(05)’s latest movements – has she flown over you today?

30 spent last night just south of London, not far from Biggin Hill airfield. She then flew briefly south, and at 7am we have her at a pond on the edge of the village of Felbridge, near East Grinstead, perhaps seeking out some breakfast. She then made an about turn and resumed her journey north!

30 headed south from her roosting site…

…to a pond on the edge of Felbridge!

30 spent the previous day sticking in one area, just north of Tours in France. She arrived mid-afternoon on the 30th March and spent the whole of the 31st in the same area. It looks the perfect spot for some R+R, with a few trees for perching and 3 large ponds for fishing. We are pleased she spent some time resting before her long flight back to the UK yesterday – she managed 271 miles in total!

Meanwhile in Manton Bay, it has been a pretty soggy day for our osprey pair!

It was a blurry start to the day on the webcam

Sandra, volunteering in Waderscrape Hide this morning, let us know that 33 brought a fish to the nest just before 7.30am, and soon after an intruded appeared in the bay. Unfortunately the intruder didn’t come close enough for us to capture them on the webcam. After a busy morning, the rest of the day has been quite relaxed, with the pair sharing incubation duties, as well as the fish 33 caught this morning.

We haven’t had another egg so far today, we are hoping another will perhaps be laid tomorrow.

33 doing what he does best