The long and winding road

The question keeps being raised as to when we think the first Osprey will depart from Rutland and begin heading southwards towards their wintering grounds. The answer is, of course, that we do not know for sure. These things are always unpredictable, and whilst we can say that it is usually the end of August or early September, that is rather vague, and in actual fact, it could be any day now. We hope that at least some of our Manton Bay Ospreys will still be here for Birdfair, when a lot of people will descend upon the nature reserve wanting to see them.

The literature always states that the adult females are the first to go, and we have seen this occurring at nest sites here. However, they don’t always stick to the rules, and Maya has never been the first to go! In the past, she has always left after one or two of her juveniles, and doesn’t leave until early September. Her historical leaving dates are:

2009 – 5th September

2010 – 12th September

2011 – 9th September

2012 – 3rd September

2013 – 2nd September

2014 – 8th September

Therefore we are hopeful that she will remain with us into September again this year!

The important thing is, they are still with us now. At the present time, all five Manton Bay Ospreys are still spending most of their time in the bay. Sometimes, though, they are not alone… Recently there have been a few intrusions at the nest site – nothing serious, mostly just other birds passing through that get chased off by the adults. On one day, however, one intruder stayed for quite a while!

The intruder in question was 30(10), one of our currently unattached males. You may remember him featuring in the Site B Saga that took place this season. To begin with, it looked for all the world like a normal scene – three juveniles on the nest with a fish, and two adults, one on the leaning perch and the other on the French perch. Then it transpired that the adult on the French perch wasn’t one of the breeding pair – it was 30(10)!

30(100 on the French perch. Photo by John Wright

30(10) on the French perch. Photo by John Wright


The bird on the leaning perch was 33(11), and he didn’t look concerned at all about 30’s presence, and allowed him to sit there for some time. 33 eventually moved towards 30, who flew off the perch, but there wasn’t any aggression, and they both ended up sitting on the fallen poplar alongside S3, who had left the nest earlier.

33, S3 and 30 on the fallen poplar. Photo by John Wright

From the left – 33, S3 and 30 on the fallen poplar. Photo by John Wright


After a while, 30 flew up off the poplar and headed towards the nest, and finally 33 cottoned on that this bird was in intruder! 30 flew to the nest and landed on it very briefly, then was chased away by 33.

30 leaving the poplar, photo by John Wright

30 leaving the poplar, photo by John Wright

P1590957---30(10)-landing-on nest

30 landing on the nest, photo by John Wright

30 on the nest, photo by John Wright

30 on the nest, photo by John Wright

33 chasing 30, photo by John Wright

33 chasing 30, photo by John Wright


A very strange turn of events to say the least! It is interesting that 30 is one of Maya’s chicks from 2010. Perhaps he stopped by to say hello to Mum and his half brothers and sister!

As has been customary this season, we had another brilliant Osprey Cruise on the Rutland Belle yesterday evening! We had a couple of great views of Ospreys fishing, and we saw 33 catch one! We had sailed down the South Arm of the reservoir, and had been watching 33 fishing over lagoon one – one of his favourite spots. He circled about, hovered a bit, then he moved on up the shoreline of the peninsula, and caught a fish in the reservoir!

We could see he had clearly caught hold of something, as he was in the water for a long time, struggling to lift the fish out. When he did, we could see why – it was huge! We had a great view of him flying past us back to the nest with it – check out these photos by John Wright!


33 carrying his enormous fish back to the nest, photo by John Wright


33 with his streamlined fish, photo by John Wright


There is one more chance to join us on an Osprey Cruise this season – Saturday 29th August is our last cruise of 2015! Click here to book now, but hurry – there are only 12 spaces left on it!



4 responses to “The long and winding road”

  1. Christine williams

    Hello, can I book 2 tickets for the cruise on Saturday 29th please?

    1. Kayleigh Brookes

      Hello, you certainly can, but you’ll need to give us a call on 01572 737378 in order to book. Thank you, Kayleigh.

  2. Wendy

    I am so enjoying reading these blogs, having watched the Manton Bay nest from the time the eggs were laid. How many returning ospreys have there been this year and how many new chicks were raised altogether this year? Thanks.

    1. Kayleigh Brookes

      Hi Wendy, many thanks for following the project. This year was the best we’ve ever had, with over 20 adult birds returning, 8 pairs and 15 chicks raised.