The Osprey Team go on holiday to Wales…

This year has been a very exciting year for Ospreys in Wales. If we go back to the beginning of the season we can remember getting some very exciting news. The 2008 Site B chick 03(08) had been seen at a nest on the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust’s Cors Dyfi reserve in mid-Wales. The summer got even better when on April 25th Nora (03) laid her first egg. This was fantastic news and several weeks later Nora and Monty had three chicks – the first for over 400 years in the Dyfi valley!

In North Wales, the male 11(98) – who was originally released in Rutland in 1998 – has had another successful year after raising three chicks. This brings his total to 18 since 2004 – a great achievement.

It would seem there couldn’t be a better time for the Rutland Osprey Project Information Officers, Paul, Liz and Michelle to pay a visit to these important sites and see these successful Rutland Ospreys. So, on the morning of July 11th we made our way from Rutland to the RSPB Glaslyn Osprey Project site, near Porthmadog in North Wales. When we arrived (after many tea and comfort breaks) we were greeted by the Project team. We had a look around the Visitor Centre which was bursting with information about Ospreys as well as three television screens. The first screen showed live footage from the nest, while another showed some recorded clips from earlier in the season. When catching up with recent events we learned that a 2007 chick from this very site had recently visited the nest so the third screen showed footage from 2007 – a nice touch.

We couldn’t wait to go to the viewing point. As these chicks hatched earlier than ever this year, they had fledged the week before so we were looking at an empty nest. But it wasn’t long before we saw 11(98) sitting in a dead tree – a fantastic bird, handsome enough even to rival 03(97)!

We managed to tear ourselves away and said thank you and good-bye to the Project team for their very warm welcome and started to make our way down to Machynlleth in mid-Wales.

When we arrived in Machynlleth is was too late to visit the Dyfi Osprey Project so we decided to have a walk down the Dyfi estuary with the hope of seeing a fishing Osprey. We were unlucky this time but we had a fantastic walk nonetheless! As we walked down the sandy beach we saw Ringed Plover and a Tree Pipit carrying nesting material as well as hundreds of washed-up Jellyfish! We wandered into the dunes and were rewarded with Sea Ivy and Pyramidal Orchids.

It was a fantastic evening but it wasn’t long before we were feeling weary after our early start so we decided to make our way to our accommodation. We were staying at the Dyfiview B&B in Machynlleth and when we arrived we received a very warm welcome. The views from the dining room and bedrooms were fantastic and the breakfast the following morning was superb! If you are planning to visit the Dyfi Osprey Project and need some where to stay we definitely recommend the Dyfiview B&B!

We had no trouble finding the Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve as we were met with enormous Osprey banners on the roadside. Last year as Paul and Liz were leaving a very wet Dyfi, the last thing Alwyn, Dyfi Engagement Officer, said was “Please send a chick our way”. Nora (03) must have been listening and the first thing Alwyn said after we pulled in to the car park was “THANK YOU!” Janine and Alwyn took us to see Nora straight away. When we arrived in the already very full hide, we were welcomed by their friendly and enthusiastic volunteers. Nora started mantling on the nest so clearly an intruder was around somewhere, but too high for us to see. Eventually she settled back on the nest with the chicks and Monty came to the new nest perch, presumably he had chased the intruder off. We had great views of all five birds both from the hide and on the live camera pictures beamed into the hide and visitor centre.

Janine then took us onto the boardwalk through the reserve to get a closer view of Monty on the new nest. They are hoping the pair will move there next year. Back at the centre, Janine was asking questions about what to bring for the trip to Gambia next year as she will be joining us. Again, we will be hoping to see ringed Ospreys from the UK (but especially Rutland!) and make further links with the school at Tanji that we visited earlier this year. We now have two satellite tagged males which we will be following on the website this autumn, and the Dyfi project now has all three chicks tagged, so if they are in the area we will have a look out for Leri, Dulas and Einion (named after local rivers).

After another cup of tea and some cake (and a quick look at the reserve’s Bug Hotel), we said our goodbyes to the Dyfi team and started the long journey back to Rutland. It was a fantastic two days and a pleasure to go and see a couple of Rutland birds who have ended up in Wales. For all of us, it is a privilege to be part of a project that has had such an influence on the recovery of Ospreys in England and Wales, and it is great to meet other people with the same way of thinking.