Sam's Diary

Sam's Diary

WildNet - Andrew Mason

Osprey Ambassador Sam has written an wonderful account of a couple of his most recent visits to Manton Bay. Read all about them here...

4th June 2021

It was rather a dull day to be walking down to the hide. Clouds were covering the sun as I made my way down to the hide. We had briefly met Abi in the visitors centre and she had given us a quick briefing on what had been happening. It hadn’t been very busy so far, so we were set to have a nice and peaceful afternoon.

On the way down we did not see much at all but we heard quite a lot, including Chiffchaff and a beautiful Blackcap. The only other birds we really heard were the greylag geese and lord, were they making a racket! We also only saw people coming back from the hide when we were walking down so we were expecting very little interaction with others that afternoon. When we eventually got to the hide, we received news that a cuckoo had been heard singing across the other side of the bay. We were amazed as the last time we heard a cuckoo at Rutland water ourselves was about 3 years ago!

About 30 mins into our shift, an Osprey Ambassador called Ethan showed up to help us keep track of the Ospreys. Just as he had settled down we heard the amazing song of a cuckoo get blown over from the opposite bank. It was awesome, everyone in the hide went silent and you could hear it beautifully.

We also had brilliant views of a singing reed bunting about 2 hours into the shift. He was sat in the top of a bush about 10M away from the hide! It is a favourite perch spot though as it is significantly higher up than the reeds, meaning his song can carry further. There were also lots of Sege Warblers but they were in amongst the reeds and you couldn’t see them.

Nothing much happened between the reed buntings and the end of our shift and we were starting to worry as our list was 2 short of 40 species for the day. That was until we started walking back. As we made our way out the back of the hide and locked up, a magnificent Barn owl flew straight over our heads! It flew in the direction of a known nest box, carrying what looked like a small mammal of some kind. We were later told that it was an active nest site so we were awestruck by that encounter.

Then not 5 minutes after we saw a Peregrine Falcon! That was the highlight of the day for me. It was swooping around fairly high up and I am surprised I noticed it at first! Sadly it didn’t stick around for long though as it flew out over the reservoir and disappeared.

All in all it was a quite but delightful shift, not too quiet, but not too busy either.


A Final Farewell

It is nearly the end of the season, soon the ospreys will be migrating to Africa and we will once again be waiting on their return. It is amazing to think that these birds will be making the Journey from Rutland to Western Africa, a journey of over 3000km! This season has been amazing, not only did we have some truly amazing sightings, the atmosphere was also amazing. It felt brilliant to return in April after the dull and depressing year of 2020 and felt amazing to have human to human contact again, not just through screens!

The first couple of months felt abnormal as firstly due to lockdown rules we weren’t allowed to have the public in, but as the rules eased it began to feel a bit more back to normal. It felt good to be able to share my knowledge and help people out again, sadly we weren’t allowed to give out scopes or binoculars for use but luckily you can just about see the nest with your naked eye! Luckily the Ospreys this season were very generous and decided to fly close to the hide on several occasions throughout. Even some of the intruding ospreys flew low over the hide

One of my favourite parts of volunteering at Rutland Osprey’s is the amount of other bird life there is in addition to the ospreys. Some of my favourite spots were: the peregrine that flew over; that was amazing, only the second time I have seen one over there! The other best spot for me was the amazing barn owl that flew over with some prey, that was just surreal and absolutely fantastic to watch. Another couple of my favourite spots were the water rail and the water vole who both appeared on the last time I went down there. The Water rail was a juvenile and it was amazing to see how brave it was, wading through the centre of the channels showing off brilliantly to all the visitors. The water vole was not as brave sadly, with it swimming rapidly across the channels into the reeds on either side but it was still amazing to see it for only the second time this season!

I have loved every moment of this season and cannot wait till next season (2022). Hopefully next year, BirdFair will also be taking place and I can do some more interviews there! Thankyou for reading my blogs and I hope you enjoyed them!