Preparing for lift-off

After two very hot, still days at Rutland Water, today has been much more breezy; and the wind has encouraged the Manton Bay youngsters to flap their now fully-grown wings much more. As Kayleigh reported on Wednesday, we’ve seen the youngsters jumping and flapping, but today we saw true ‘heliocoptering’ for the first time. S1 helicoptered up and then out of the camera view! You can really sense the power of the juvenile’s wings in the video below. As you’ll see, this encouraged S2 to try and follow suit, but he doesn’t seem to quite have the power of his sibling just yet…

It’s hard to predict exactly when the youngsters will take to their air for the first time, but now they’re helicoptering, it won’t be long; perhaps Tuesday? The photo below shows that the birds’ wings are now fully-developed; it’s just a case of strengthening the wing muscles, and perhaps even more importantly, plucking up enough courage to take to the air for that all-important first time!

This photo, of S1 stretching, shows that the youngsters' wings are now fully-grown

This photo, of S1 stretching, shows that the youngsters’ wings are now fully-grown

Shortly after midday today 33 arrived back at the nest with a large trout and this has kept the family well-fed all afternoon. Here’s a video of Maya feeding the chicks.

Away from Manton Bay we have yet more exciting news to report. 4K, a two year-old male who fledged from the Site C nest in 2013, was photographed intruding at one of the off-site nests by John Wright yesterday afternoon. 4K is the third of the 2013 contingent to make it home, following the earlier arrivals of 1J and 3J. This is great news and bodes well for the future. The Rutland colony just keeps on growing!

He is the third 2013 youngster to return this year

4K is the third 2013 youngster to return this year

4K's blue ring is clearly visible in John Wright's photos

4K’s blue ring is clearly visible in John Wright’s photos


4 responses to “Preparing for lift-off”

  1. Keith Rogers

    In 2013 it was great news to hear of two young three year olds breeding off site and having three chicks.
    Even better to hear that one of these chicks 4K has safely returned home safely to take his place in the Rutland Dynasty.

  2. Graham

    When did you ring the birds

    1. Kayleigh Brookes

      30th June, Graham. See this post about it –

  3. Jenny Still

    Fabulous to see and what great photos!