Pick up sticks

Yesterday evening we set sail on the Rutland Belle for on our 2nd osprey cruise of the season – the weather was mild, the wind wasn’t up too much – perfect conditions for fishing ospreys! Just before we set sail, Paul called our volunteers in Waderscrape hide – had 33 caught a fish yet this evening? Gill replied with bad news – 33 had bought a huge roach in at half 4! The cruise started at 5.30pm, so unfortunately it was looking like we might not see 33 in action, but with 8 breeding pairs in the area (as well as a few single males knocking about) we knew we were still in with a good chance of seeing other birds.

As we set sail from Whitwell, the wind seemed to pick up – in the distance a large black cloud was coming towards the water. Oh dear! We continued down the north arm of the reservoir – a couple of birds of prey in the distance turned out to be red kites (always lovely to see, but we weren’t on a ‘red kite’ cruise!). Matt the Captain turned the boat round, hoping we might have more luck on the south arm. All the while the black cloud seemed to be looming closer!

We sailed all the way down the south arm, past Normanton Church and towards Manton Bay, getting a new perspective on Lyndon Visitor Centre from the water as we passed it. Soon enough we were close enough to make out the nest in the distance. Sure enough, Maya and 33 were both on the nest with the chicks (who, despite their rapid growth, were still too small to make out from our vantage point). Happily, at this point, the wind seemed to let up a bit and the sun was making its way through the clouds. Would we have to content ourselves with only seeing the birds on the nest rather than in flight on this cruise?

…Of course not! Soon after, Matt the Captain thought he could see an osprey in the far distance, straight in front of the boat. Everyone looked through their binoculars to see if we could get a better look. The bird flew closer and closer – there was no doubt about it, it was an osprey! It soon got so close that even without binoculars you could make out its individual primary feathers silhouetted against the sky. Altogether, as we headed back down the south arm towards the dam and Whitwell, we got views of at least 3 individual ospreys – we even saw one dive for a fish just in front of the dam! What a treat.

Thank you to everyone who came, the Rutland Belle, and our wonderful osprey-spotting volunteers for a great evening – and the ospreys for turning up too of course! Click here f you’d like to book a place on an upcoming cruise.

The weather was beautiful again by the end of the cruise

The weather was beautiful again by the end of the cruise

Meanwhile, today at Manton Bay we arrived this morning to see all was well at the nest – thankfully there seemed to have been no more overnight niggle at the nest between our 2 chicks! 33 bought in a fish at about quarter to ten yesterday evening – the chicks showed a bit of interest in it and looked like they would try and feed themselves if they could, but Maya wasn’t too fussed (maybe because the chicks were in the way!), and it stayed on the nest all night.

In this video, shortly after the fish was delivered, you can see 33 swoop into the water to clean his feet in the background! Look on the right hand side of the screen.

Today has been quite a quiet day, apart from a brief intrusion this morning. Chris, our volunteer in Waderscrape, managed to get a photo of the male bird intruding, but unfortunately it’s leg ring was concealed.

The larger of the 2 chicks today has thankfully moved onto more productive tasks than bullying their sibling – they were spotted moving small sticks around on the nest earlier! This chick certainly is very active for such a young bird.

Both chicks have been fed well today, with 33 bringing in a large roach just before 2pm which Maya fed most of to the chicks. They really are growing so quickly, you can see a difference in them both every day!

Big chicks!

One response to “Pick up sticks”

  1. Ann

    Thanks for another lovely blog, Holly. Love the chick moving those sticks–always a delight to see that. I wonder–is it copying Mum and Dad or is that behaviour entirely instinct (or some of both)?