Trip reports

Coach trip to Rutland Water

Coach trip to Rutland Water
Osprey by Mike Richards (rspb-images.com)

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Our destination was the Lyndon centre, home of the Rutland Osprey Project. Since ospreys were first translocated to Rutland Water in 1997, 62 osprey chicks have fledged from nests in the Rutland area. Last year there were 5 nests and 14 chicks fledged.

They are understandably coy about how many nests there are this year as most are on private land and the birds are heavily protected. There is however a nest in Manton Bay on the reserve and this is the focus of public attention; it is fitted with a webcam which is live in the visitor centre and online.
For the past few years this has been occupied by a female called Maya and her partner. He did not return from migration this year and after waiting a few weeks Maya accepted a new mate. She laid 3 eggs, but intruding ospreys disturbed the nest, and another male finally pushed the new male off the nest and kicked the eggs out. Maya has now bonded with this male. It is now too late for them to breed this year but hopes are high for next year.

All of these shenanigans have resulted in these two birds hanging around the nest. Thus it was possible to sit in either of the two comfortable hides that overlook the nest site and watch ospreys all day long. Mostly they were perched on the nest or close by, but they would take to the air from time to time to see off potential intruders or fetch another stick to add to the nest. There was always at least one in sight and some of us were privileged to see four ospreys at once.

While ospreys were clearly the star birds and reason enough to make the journey, we also saw red kites, and our final list included spotted flycatcher, yellowhammer, tree sparrows, corn bunting and a range of warblers. Close to the hides the reeds buzzed with reed buntings and sedge warblers and over the water whirled common terns, swifts, swallows, house and sand martins. If icing were needed on this ornithological cup cake, we got tantalizing glimpses of water voles in the channels around the Wader Scrape hide.

And the rain was all over by lunchtime.

Posted by Graeme Hutchinson.

Follow this link to the Rutland Osprey project where as I write this, the webcam shows the male weaving in yet more nest material:

http://www.ospreys.org.uk/