Once again, I hope you won’t mind if I haven’t made a round up of the nests this week? Time constraints have again limited my search around the sites, but circumstances have provided us with plenty to focus on!!Obviously, our attention has been centred upon events at Lowes, and the “fledging” of Blue44 on Monday lunchtime. Now, I use inverted commas because I feel that our boy’s fledging was somewhat accidental? It all began for me on my walk home from work, when my phone started jumping about in my pocket as the texts arrived (thank you all, you know who I mean!!) As you might expect, I was excited to learn that our youngster had made his first, tentative foray into the wide world beyond the comfort of his home till now – however, when I was able to view the footage from the webcam, my immediate reaction was that he had stepped off the side of the nest. I think the picture in Tuesday’s header post confirms that, when you see his outstretched legs and talons – I have limited experience, but I wouldn’t say that it has the look of a bird who has “found his wings” rather, he has the look of a bird that has “lost his footing” Conjecture perhaps, but I feel that subsequent events bear this out. None of us would have envisaged the tension that followed in the hours, then days, that followed! We all speculated, hoped, cried, worried, every emotion was touched as we waited for news. Eventually, through the satellite signals, we learned that our boy was actually close to the nest, and although the searches for him proved fruitless in terms of a positive sighting, there was hope at least, that he was still alive!! Throughout all this, there seemed to be indications that the parents, Lady & Laddie, knew of his whereabouts, and were probably feeding him! And then yesterday, our intrepid matriarch escorted her wayward offspring back to the nest, and if my own teenage experience of a few nights away from home without a phonecall are anything to go by, the rollicking he received from mum will STILL be ringing in his ears!!!! TO RUTLAND Well if ever we needed a reminder of how precarious the life of a young Osprey can be, then this week is a perfect example!! After last week’s most fortunate rescue, where the youngster was spotted dropping into the undergrowth, RUTLAND has witnessed further scenes of the uncertainty faced by our favoured birds of prey. Incredibly, they’ve seen a waterlogged bird housed overnight to dry out, and yet another absentee from its nest finally return to safety. All this highlights the dangers that fledgling Ospreys face in the period immediately after their maiden flight. Not sufficient the danger they face from predators in their infancy, these intrepid birds manage to find themselves in the most unlikely (to us) of situations, and as we’ve seen, not always able to escape them without intervention. The picture above sees Tim Mackrill transporting a most fortunate Osprey to a safe haven for the night.. The thrust of all this, I think, is to underline the work done by the many Osprey projects throughout the country, without whose help these incredible birds would surely suffer. Rutland in particular, has been responsible for the translocation,of Scottish birds, and their subsequent growth in numbers in ENGLAND and more recently, in WALES.
The events of this week serve to illustrate the dangers Ospreys face in their early days, and even if less at risk from predators, they certainly remain a threat to themselves!!
Many consider any form of intervention in the lives of these, and other birds, an unnecessary intrusion, and yet we see so many instances where without such intrusion they would surely suffer.
Fledging is clearly a very risky time for young ospreys, and as we’ve seen, a very emotional period for us as spectators!! But without the care and diligence of unselfish people, the people who make up the teams of staff and volunteers at the various projects up and down the UK and beyond, without the webcams we so avidly watch, there are at least 3 birds at Rutland alone that wouldn’t have made it – and that’s just this week!!
© Copyright Photography below – John Wright of Rutland Osprey Project, Manton Bay.Many of the nests that Ospreys occupy during the spring and summer months here, are man made, in an attempt to attract Ospreys to them, so saving them the time it would take them to build their own – this is intervention. We have seen several instances of birds being removed from, and/or returned to nests this year, this too, is intervention. Every year, birds are removed from nests for ringing, and in some cases, tagging. This is intervention. Intervention into the daily lives of our wildlife is, and will remain, a contentious issue for many people. For some of those, the feeling is that we shouldn’t intervene at all. For others, intervention depends upon certain circumstances – “do we ring?” ”do we tag?” “do we pick that bird up?” “do we take that bird from the nest?” For me, someone with little knowledge and limited experience, education seems to provide the key. At RUTLAND , I see the basis of an essential stepping stone for this most incredible bird of prey. Not only do the team of staff & volunteers put themselves out for the conservation of the birds, they also actively engage in educational projects for children and young people both in the UK, and in Africa. This work, I am convinced, is the way forward in the conservation of Ospreys. What could be more beneficial than enthusing children, introducing them to the wonders of wildlife and the natural world?? Link this to the science and technology available to us, and we have a recipe for the future benefit of a species that not so many years ago was in rapid decline. I feel we must embrace this, pass it on to the children who will, in time, become our future conservationists. In them lies the hope for years to come. Just this week, our lovely Shirley and Joyce have made visits to Rutland, and it is their pictures you see on the page. I am incredibly enthused and inspired by the work done by everyone involved there, and feel they should be justifiably proud of their efforts both at home, and abroad. I’ve yet to visit the area, but its certainly on the “to do” list! I would like to pass on my thanks, and regards to Tim, Lynda, Michelle, in fact the entire team of staff and volunteers at Rutland Water, for your continuing work with, and for, an amazing bird of prey. Its future is, I’m certain, safe in your hands!! I’d like also, if any of the team happen to look in here, to pass on my thanks to ABIGAIL, for her well written blog of her work experience at Rutland. The magic of Ospreys has clearly found its way into your life, and I feel sure that this is a beginning for you, well done!! I should mention that the last photo is courtesy of RUTLAND Osprey Diary, thanks as ever, for allowing us the use of material from your site, it’s very much appreciated, as is the work you all carry out so selflessly.
The Dyfi Osprey Project and the Scottish wildlife Trust have kindly given their permission for us to post still and video images from their webcams. To visit their sites please click on the relevant link. Loch of the Lowes. Dyfi Osprey Project.