I recently went spent two days helping Tim Mackrill, Paul Stammers and the rest of the Osprey team, with Osprey shifts and talking to the public; here is my blog post that i'd posted on the Rutland Osprey site.
Over the past couple of day’s we’ve been joined by 15 year-old Toby Carter. He’s written a great blog about his two days with the project…
On Thursday I headed down to Shallow Water hide in the morning to see what wading birds I could find, I managed to see; Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Ruff and 3 Black-tailed Godwits in summer plumage. After enjoying those birds I headed over to Waderscrape hide to help the volunteers with the Osprey shift. I’d recently visited and helped out with the Osprey team as part of my work experience, and saw the chicks when they were only 5 weeks old. I can’t believe the difference now they are 12 weeks old!
No sooner had I arrived in the hide than the drama started. S3 was practicing diving into the water, when suddenly she rushed towards the nest and started to mantle; the first time I’d ever seen this kind of behaviour. I looked up and two intruding Ospreys were circling above, one then dive-bombed S3 on the nest; it was spectacular to watch! Mya then came to the rescue and pushed the birds away from the vicinity of the nest and out of view.
On the walk back to the centre, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Whitethroat were singing in the hedgerows and surrounding trees. At the centre I took control of the live feed and we caught some amazing footage of the chicks; the first piece of footage is 33 bringing in a Perch, and S1 and S3 having a fight over this fish. The fight went on for a minute and a half and was amazing to watch. The second piece of footage was 33 again bringing a small fish, and S3 grabbing the fish of him, then S2 grabbed hold of 33’s talon in his beak and tried to pull him almost off the nest! So S3 was literally pulling dad’s leg! He obviously thought he still had the fish!
Pulling Dad's Leg
Pulling Dad's leg
I got up really early, and made my way to Shallow Water hide around 7:30am. When I arrived no one else was in the hide, and straight the way there was plenty of Little Egrets, herons and of course Ospreys. The Greenshank was still around as well as Green Sandpipers, Common Sandpipers a Black-tailed Godwit and I got a fleeting glimpse of a Kingfisher; which was a bonus. Then suddenly Mya started calling and I got my scope on the bird and I was surprised to see that a Hobby was dive bombing Mya! This went on for a good five minutes, but it wasn’t until the local Common Terns came along, that the Hobby moved off! This is a memory that I’ll treasure for a while.
On the way to Waderscrape hide, there were more Whitethroats and a pair of Bullfinches in the hedgerows and trees. When I got into the hide, S2 was sitting on the nest, and 33 and the remaining two chicks were in the surrounding area. The Sedge Warblers and the Reed Buntings in front of the hide were making a fuss at something in the undergrowth: we think it was a Grass Snake as Water voles don’t worry the local birds. Apart from that it was very quiet. At the centre more and more people started to arrive in the afternoon. The public loved watching a Whitethroat coming to the bird feeders, and, as I'm writing this, a Spotted Flycatcher has made a brief appearance. With some patience I managed to show the people this lovely bird.
I've really enjoyed my 2 days here with the Osprey team, and I doubt this will be my last visit before the Birdfair!