An Ambassadors Account

Sam is one of our wonderful Osprey Ambassadors, and he is currently spending some time helping to monitor the Manton Bay pair. He has written this brilliant blog for us, so please enjoy!

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and the sun was shining as we strolled down to Waderscrape. We met many distractions on the way down including the bubbly song of a blackcap and a very fleeting view of a muntjac deer. We also saw our favourite badger set which had been recently excavated, we didn’t see them but we knew they were there somewhere!

As we entered the hide, we were glad to see Barrie, who was also on shift with us. It was strange for only us to be there with Barrie, as a key part of the Rutland Osprey Project is talking with the general public and I have definitely missed that over the past year! Luckily the ospreys were very easy to keep track of as they were both sat on the nest together. This provided plenty of opportunity for us to see what else was around! Our first major spot was a barn owl, gliding across from the opposite side of the bay, right past us into its nest box. Then we began to notice an abundance of Sand Martins, but there weren’t just Sand Martins, there were also Swallows!

I just happened to glance across in front of the hide as a Water Rail swam across the right-hand side channel. Luckily Barrie saw it as well so he could add it to his rapidly growing list. As soon as it had swum across, I tried to predict where it would go next, as previously they used to swim across all 3 channels before swimming back. But no, it decided to swim right back across the same channel which was annoying as I didn’t have time to reposition my camera!

Then the sky turned dark as we saw a creeping barrage of hail and snow appear over the horizon.  We braced ourselves for the cold onslaught.  The hail thrummed the roof as we tried to keep tabs on the ospreys.  Luckily, they stayed in the same places as otherwise we’d have lost sight of them!

ospreys in flight

(c) Sam Newcombe

After the onslaught had ended, we witnessed an intruding osprey fly over Manton bay! Sadly, we couldn’t identify it as we couldn’t see the ring, but it was still amazing to see it glide over the beautiful bay. Maya and 33 were practically unfazed by this intruder, with 33 barely mantling and both of them just looking up at it! It disappeared off behind the hide, so we followed suit. Whilst we were trying to get some pictures and ID it a second osprey appeared! They started circling together and calling to each other, which led us to believe they were a pair. Sadly, they were too high up to ID but were still amazing to watch.

On our way back to the Visitor centre the sun was shining again as we were trying to reach 50 on our species list (we were on 49) whilst walking through walls of flies - there were so many! We couldn’t really talk that much for fear of swallowing a load of them. Luckily on our way back we saw a red-legged partridge, a singing robin and a pair of long-tailed tits which brought our list to 52!