The End is Nigh

The End is Nigh

Peter Cairns/2020VISION

What another fantastic season we have had this year! 19 chicks have successfully fledged from eight different nests and we have seen 30 adults return either to the Rutland area or elsewhere, including three first time returnees from the class of 2019.

We have all been coming to terms over the last week or so, with the imminent time when the Ospreys will start to leave Rutland and head off on their long journeys south to their wintering grounds. We have always thought that the adult female is the first one to leave, followed by the juveniles and finally the adult male. And this is the case for the majority of the other breeding pairs we have here, however Maya likes to buck the trend, as she is still here despite the two juveniles, female 095 and male 096, both having left on Sunday morning!

Interestingly, the two juveniles left within three minutes of the other, with 095 being the first to go at 09:10. Our wonderful volunteers who were in Waderscrape Hide at the time, described her swooping low over Waderscrape Hide, before circling high in the sky and eventually disappearing south. 096 followed suit just three minutes later. A sad moment for all of us, but we have had the amazing joy and privilege to follow these two develop and grow into magnificent individuals.

These fantastic parting shots of this year’s two Manton Bay juveniles, were taken and shared with us by Chris Wood, so thank you to him.

In the run up to the juveniles leaving, they were gradually spending less and less time on the nest, male 096 in particular which had taken over one of the nearby T-perches, and only returning if 33(11) came back with a fish. However, it became clear that 095 was the more dominant of the two juveniles, with a bit of sibling rivalry occurring at times!

For those of you who were watching the webcam you may have noticed 095 persistently food begging on the nest, trying to lull us into a false assumption that she wasn’t getting enough food. I think it’s fair to say, she was receiving probably more than any of the others, and was starting to food beg as soon as she had been fed!

We won’t expect to see any of the juveniles that have fledged this year return until 2023, at the earliest, as juvenile Ospreys will spend the first couple of years out in their wintering grounds, whether that be along the coast of West Africa or southern Europe, where they will be establishing a territory of their own and maturing.

We won’t see all of this year’s juveniles return, but in Rutland, we have a 32% juvenile survival rate, which is slightly higher than elsewhere in the UK. Looking at this further, and more specifically focussing on the Manton Bay nest, 44% of juveniles raised by Maya and her partner (male 5R(04) or 33(11)) between 2010 and 2019 have returned, which is incredible!

As for Maya and 33(11), they are both still around in Manton Bay as of when I am writing this, but I’m sure it won’t be too long before they too, head off for their migration, so if you are planning on visiting us with the hope of seeing the Ospreys, I definitely would recommend coming sooner rather than later.

We wish the cohort of 2021 a successful and safe journey to wherever they may go and we look forward to hopefully welcoming Maya and 33(11) next year for another season.