First Flights

Peter Cairns/2020VISION

We have had a couple of very exciting days here! Read this blog to find out all about them...

When I started writing this blog entry earlier today, I was thought I was only going to be talking about an event that happened yesterday, but we have had some more excitement this morning! But I’ll start off with what happened yesterday.

Yesterday began like most other days; I’d had a chat with the two volunteers who were monitoring the Manton Bay nest in the morning, readied the Visitor Centre for opening and welcomed a steady flow of visitors, all keen and enthusiastic to see the Ospreys. Little did we realise what the day would bring…

When I switched the webcam on yesterday morning, the two chicks were on the nest and the adults must have been perched somewhere close by and all were really as I left them on Wednesday evening when I last checked in with them. The male chick, 096, was persistent in his wing flapping and was doing some fantastic ‘helicoptering’, ever so momentarily lifting up – sometimes out of view of the camera – before landing safely back on the nest (phew). This went on for most of the morning, and now and again, the female chick, 095, joined in and also had a go.

The morning flew by and at lunchtime I received a very exciting phone call from the volunteers down at Waderscrape Hide, to say that the oldest chick 096, at 54 days old, had fledged at 12:12pm and had taken his first ever flight around Manton Bay, eventually settling on the camera perch, just above the nest where he remained for the rest of the afternoon! What fantastic news it was to hear! Maya being the super parent she is, joined 096 on his maiden flight, which must have been really lovely to watch from the two bird hides.

View from Waderscrape Hide

I managed to pop down to the Waderscrape Hide after work yesterday and found that 33(11) had headed towards Normanton, not too long prior – thoughts were he was off on a fishing trip. It was a beautiful evening to sit and enjoy being immersed in watching the Manton Bay family and the rest of the wildlife including a stunning Arctic Tern. Time always flies by (please excuse the pun) when you’re down there and it didn’t seem very long before 33(11) returned with a fish, which turned out to be a Trout. After demolishing the head of the fish in the nearby poplars, 33(11) dropped it off at the nest, after which 096 finally landed back on the nest at 18:47.

Exactly 23 hours later we are telling a very similar story, as the remaining chick, female 095, fledged at 11:11 this morning at 53 days old! Unlike with her brother, I have to say 095 fledging took us a little bit by surprise. Before 096 fledged he was wing flapping and helicoptering, but with 095, one minute she was there, sitting on the edge of the nest, and the next she was gone.

After speaking to the volunteer in Waderscrape Hide to hear their account of what happened, it turned out that 095 had flown behind the group of poplars behind the nest and unfortunately was lost sight of. However, we reckon that she must have landed in one of these poplars out of view from everyone in the bird hides, because I soon had a phone call to say she had just landed on one of the T perches next to Maya, which is just brilliant. It is always a relief after the chicks have fledged to have all of them accounted for.

Although the chicks have now fledged, they will remain in the area until usually the end of August/beginning of September, which is when they will begin their first epic migration south, to countries such as Gambia, Senegal and southern Spain where they will stay for at least the first 18 months of their lives, so there is still plenty of opportunities to come and visit us at Lyndon or join us for one of our Osprey Cruises.