At the weekend, we spent a couple of days at Rutland Water to see the Ospreys. The Osprey story goes like this. There are a few pairs in Rutland but only one pair nests on the reserve, the others on private land. A male and female arrived on the reserve nest and produced eggs which were being incubated until the arrival of a rival male, who promptly saw off the first male and booted out the eggs. There is no time now for the new pair to produce any offspring and get them back on their way to Africa by the end of summer. That hasn’t stopped them collecting sticks to add to the nest, or indulging in amorous behaviour so, even though there wasn’t the activity associated with feeding chicks, there were still a few photo opportunities.
There are two hides for the Ospreys, both on the opposite side of the water to the nest so, unless the birds pay you a visit, the photos are long shots. The osprey hides are among the best I’ve seen with plenty of room for tripods, big windows and comfy chairs – great to while away the day even if nothing much happens. Rutland Water is a great place just to sit and enjoy the scenery. But there was some quite interesting activity. Occasionally, one of the birds would skim the water, apparently washing his/her feet and on one occasion she appeared to be drinking on the wing. Most of the sticks they collected came from somewhere way beyond the hide but, on one occasion, she picked one out of the water. On another occasion, one of the birds submerged itself completely in the water and then simply climbed out and resumed its flight. During the whole time we were there, we didn’t see them eat.
During Osprey downtime, there were good views of Egyptian Geese, Mute Swans, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Shoveler, Coot, Tufted Duck, Common Tern, Swallows, Red Kite and Buzzard. Some had young so there was plenty to watch. All in all, a great couple of days and definitely a place to return to. Hopefully, next year, there will be a successful mating and some chicks to feed.
Check out the site for more photos of the Ospreys and other shots.