We had some great news yesterday – another Rutland osprey has been spotted in the UK for the first time! The bird is T3, a male who fledged from one of the nests in Rutland in 2016! He was seen by Peter and Jenny Hillier at Fishlake Meadows, where two other Rutland ospreys have been seen in the past – 1J(13) in 2015 and 06(09) in 2011!
T3 is only a one-year-old and it’s quite rare for one-year-olds to return, as ospreys usually spend their first summer on their wintering grounds and return for the first time at two-years-old. It could be that T3 only wintered as far south as Spain or Portugal, as we know some ospreys do, and that’s why he’s early back. In the Project’s history there has only been one other occasion of a one-year-old returning – a translocated female, 06(01), returned as a one-year-old in 2002 then came back the year after and bred successfully at two-years-old, raising two chicks!
Here are some photographs of T3, taken at Fishlake Meadows in Hampshire on Monday 3rd July. Thank you to Peter and Jenny for these.
In Manton Bay, there has been a lot more wing action but no fledging just yet. 2AN has been venturing nearer to the edge of the nest, and she seems very keen! She hasn’t helicoptered again today, but then there isn’t much of a breeze today, and they need a bit of wind to excite them and also to help them get airborne.
Having said that, 2AM did a little bit of helicoptering this afternoon! He is getting much more active now, and is actually seven weeks old today! Fledging usually occurs between seven and eight weeks.
The first fish of the day was delivered to the nest at 05:02 this morning. 33 flew in with the fish and Maya landed on the nest soon after him, ready to take over and feed the juveniles. She wasn’t as quick as 2AN, though – the young female dived straight in and grabbed the fish from 33. She seemed to know exactly what she was doing, and began devouring the fish head first.
Maya still has the instinct to feed the juveniles, and she slowly wandered around the nest until she was in front of 2AN, then leaned towards the fish as if to take it from her. 2AN was having none of that, though, and pecked at Maya’s face!
Perhaps to get her own back (but of course we don’t think so!) soon after the morning’s fish was eaten, Maya was rearranging some sticks and ended up putting one right on the back of 2AN’s neck!
The juveniles have been moving sticks around too! The instinct to nest build is innate in ospreys, and we often see them nibbling at sticks, even from a very young age.
Another fish was delivered at 11:23 – this one Maya grabbed!
We captured this video of 2AN earlier today, sitting on the edge of the nest. She must have spotted something that she was interested in or unsure of, but it looked like she was looking right into the camera! I love that head bob!
It won’t be long now before the juveniles are flying – such exciting times! Here are some photos of 2AN with her wings spread, what a wingspan!