Sunday, 10 July 2016

Rutland Water Osprey Cruise

I've recently just been to see the Osprey pair in Rutland Water's Manton Bay nest site from the South side hides ahead of a family trip to try and see them from a different angle and platform, namely the Rutland Belle Osprey cruiseThis particular nest has now fledged but there is still activity near it.

Now the idea is that we turn up with our email showing our pre-booking at Egleton birdwatching centre on the Western side in a study room there, get given a permit to get out of the next car park (where the boat is) and have a little pre-cruise chat about all things Osprey over tea and biscuits. All fine and dandy and it is clear that Rutland is a real Osprey success story. 

The boat is caught at the sailing centre on the North side which is, say, ten minutes away. We all had a generous forty minutes to get there and park. We decided to crack on and being in quite an advantageous queue position we got onto the top deck at the stern which gave us a pretty much 180 degree view, and the on-board bar supplied me with a beer.

We initially headed for the mile long dam and then went the opposite way, roughly toward Manton Bay with the intention of seeing the Ospreys fish. On the way there was an events marquee not too dissimilar to the one in which I saw Ray Mears give a talk recently. Despite it being July there was a stiff breeze blowing across large stretches of the reservoir and we were told that this will make fishing hard, despite having the birds having eyesight 16 times better than ours.

We were kept abreast of what nature was presenting itself along the way by use of the clock face numbers (so, for example, the starboard side was three o'clock). We then heard the news that we had been waiting for, some Osprey action. A passenger had spotted it and got thanked publically...It was my youngest son! These pictures have quite a bit of a crop on them as the bird was hugging the shoreline where the water was a little calmer. It 'returned to base' empty handed although it did make a couple of dives albeit in the air not the water.

And this is a view towards the Manton Bay nest, there are two birds sat within view. I heard one passenger quip that it was a closer view from the hide than the boat which whilst it was true was a little harsh, the boat wasn't allowed into the area and this is a different experience from the land based one... 

Neither obliged us with any flight and we had to head back to do so in daylight. This horseshoe shaped body of water is vast and this shot is a while after we turned round and is towards Manton Bay. Now the duration from start to finish was quotes as three hours but I reckon it was about half and hour for the talk and two hours on the water. Well we saw Ospreys but sadly not any close up fishing, the adage of never working with animals and kids is probably relevant here. It is technically an Osprey and wildlife cruise and we still enjoyed the boat trip in it's own right and I would recommend it.

We decided to head back home and have a late tea. We did have a laugh at the slight irony of our more successful fish gathering trip than the Ospreys.

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