Flapping in the rain

It’s been a soggy week for the Manton Bay chicks so we are glad to see they are all looking well!

The chicks are sleeping, preening, wing stretching and flapping far more often than previous weeks. In 2-3 weeks time they should be strong enough to make their first flight from the nest under Maya’s watchful eye.

This afternoon there were fish deliveries and more nest exploring. At around 3 pm we saw 33 and Maya mantling while the chicks close to the nest floor. There was an intruding osprey, and it was incredible to watch the Manton Bay pair working together.

Keep an eye on the fabulous parental teamwork and fantastic fours flapping on our webcam!

Thursday updates

It’s been a miserable week all around Rutland water, and we’ve been watching Maya and her brood closely to make sure they’re managing ok in this weather. Osprey chicks are sturdy birds however, and seem to be growing well still despite all the wet weather and wind.

This morning, 33 brought back a large fish to the nest and this was welcomed by a very eager Maya and the chicks, whom she fed for almost an hour! As per usual, the three eldest siblings rushed in to get their fill, and then lay down with full crops, leaving the fourth chick complete access to the food source, and got a good full meal.

Hopefully the weather will improve over the weekend!

Take the weather with you

Ah June, the first hints of summer as suncream flies off the shelves, barbeque tongs go out of stock and it rains fairly consistently for the whole month. 

This week has really been no exception! Our volunteer team who are responsible for monitoring the Ospreys from Waderscrape hide have reported tales of very soggy ospreys out in manton bay, but still managing to keep the chicks nice and dry. Although Maya is really having to stretch out her wings to keep all of the chicks partially covered! 

33 has been off the nest frequently, fishing as best as he can in the poor visibility. With the sideways rain and wind, seeing the fish swimming in the water is a challenge, even for a top predator like the Osprey. However he is still managing to provide for his brood and the chicks have their feathers coming through thick and fast, so will be able to manage the elements. 

With any luck we will see blue skies again this week, and hopefully more Ospreys will be flying around for our cruise on Saturday evening!

Brothers in arms

It’s been a momentous year for us at Rutland, with Maya and 33 laying claim to the 150th chick to be hatched since the project began in 1997. This is not only a real remark on how well Ospreys are starting to do in the UK again, but also shows how the dedication and hard work of conservation projects can really pay off. Our hopes are for Osprey numbers in England, Scotland and Wales to continue to rise, and eventually for numbers to return to sustainable levels, throughout the UK and not just in isolated spots. 

That’s why it’s so important for the Osprey projects in the UK to communicate, spread their own successes, and for us to celebrate each other’s. On Springwatch last night, a short feature was made of the anniversary of Ospreys returning to Loch Garten. It has been 60 years since the initiative to protect the birds was put in place and anyone that is involved with the Osprey project will have watched with excitement and awe.

In 1958, the first pair of birds to return to Loch Garten showed up, coming from Scandinavia, this was jaw-dropping news for those involved with the RSPB up in Scotland, and quickly various ideas were put in place to protect these birds and encourage them to nest. Frank Hamilton, who was involved with the team at the time, spoke about how exciting it all was, and how fantastic their arrival back to the UK could be for the Osprey’s reinstatement in the UK. Undortunately, the following year, just as nest checks were being carried out, it transpired that egg collectors had been in and replaced the real Osprey eggs with decoys. This is unimaginable today but in the early days egg collection was still incredibly popular. The decision was made to open the site up to the public, an incredibly brave move considering the potential for egg theft, but this really showcases that putting faith in public decisions can drive immense support and education about many of our endangered species.

And Today, it’s a success story, and after many slow years of encouraging breeding pairs, there are now 400 breeding pairs of Ospreys in the UK, and Ospreys have now been back in the UK for 60 years. We have a long way to go, as a stable population needs to be able to withstand bad seasons, disease and other disturbances and still be able to recover, and we have some way to go. However with luck, the hard work of project staff and volunteers we’ve provided a safe haven to hundreds of Ospreys, and this will continue well into the future. Bravo Loch Garten!

Wistful Wednesday

As we watch over the four fluffy, almost feathery chicks in Maya and 33’s brood, it’s hard not to think back on how the season first started, when we were anxiously waiting for eggs to be laid, for our other pairs to arrive back and settle… It seems like a lifetime ago!

We’ve been in the limelight quiet a bit of late and have been working hard to spread the message of the project far and wide. At the start of the season, we had the Birdwatching magazine come and visit us when we were all still dithering in fleeces and gloves, waiting and watching for the osprey season to kick off. The fantastic crew came down to film on the reserve, around the hides, and get an idea of some of the other work we do here at the Osprey HQ Lyndon Visitor’s Centre. 

You can now check out the short film on our Facebook and Twitter pages, or click the link below!