The first osprey to return for the summer to England’s largest osprey colony has arrived safely back at Rutland Water.
Having completed the 3,000 mile return journey from the west coast of Africa where he spent the winter, the bird dropped in to the same nest he used last year on Sunday afternoon (March 20). The first bird back is a 14-year-old male bird, know as 03(97) but nicknamed ‘Mr Rutland’ in honour of his significant contribution to the population at the reservoir. He has raised 23 chicks with three different females since his first clutch in 2001. His return this year comes a day later than last year, and the same date that he came back in 2009. It’s hoped his mate will arrive back to join him in the next few days.
Ospreys return to the same nest site every year, and pair with the same bird every year until one of them dies or is displaced by another bird.
The project, which is a partnership between the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and Anglian Water, released 64 Scottish ospreys at Rutland Water between 1996 and 2001. The first birds bred at Rutland in 2001 – including ‘Mr Rutland’ – marking the return of a species that had been missing from central England for over 150 years.
The visitor centre at Lyndon on the south shore of Rutland Water will now be open every day from 9am to 5pm. Volunteers will be on hand to tell the story of the osprey, and to show visitors where they are. Live pictures from a camera trained on a nest will also be beamed to the centre, so visitors can see in detail the drama of a young osprey family as it happens. The live pictures are also streamed to the project’s newly upgraded website www.ospreys.org.uk.
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