I did my first Osprey Cruise last night and I was very lucky – and so were the other participants, of course.
It was a really lovely evening, fairly still and bright. Mark, from the Calvert Trust, drove the boat and he was very enthusiastic about Ospreys but it was his first Osprey Cruise too. We had five paying guests, a family of three with two adults in wheelchairs and a 16 year old son who often stay at the Calvert Trust, a man who lives near Rutland Water and has got interested in Ospreys as a result, and a young woman called Rachel who had spent some time during the day with Joanna and at Leaplish and was very knowledgeable about Kielder Ospreys and those at other sites. All were as enthusiastic as Mark about Ospreys. The power of positive thinking from the whole group had immediate effect and as we approached the jetty, an Osprey was spotted very close by, clearly fishing. We had wonderful views for about 20 minutes as it went back and forth in the inlet. Unfortunately, all attempts were unsuccessful and eventually it headed off towards the dam. So we embarked at that point.
We headed across the reservoir and then up towards Nest 1 area. I thought I could identify Nest 1 but, as we approached more closely, it disappeared over the horizon. We went into the bay which must be near the nest but there was no sign of Ospreys. We knew it was unlikely we would see YA fishing because both Rachel and I had been at Leaplish and knew a fish was brought to the nest around 16.30pm. But we did see Goosanders, Mallards and Martins.
Time was getting on and we decided to head back. Keen interest in the boat by the 16 year old was rewarded with the opportunity to drive us back – which he did with style while still scanning for Ospreys! We saw lots of birds on the water but mostly gulls with a possible Osprey amongst them but when we got back near the jetty again, as a parting shot, we experienced another display of Osprey fishing, this time from the boat. Even when we disembarked after we lost sight of it, there was some enthusiasm for waiting around to see if the Osprey returned but most of us were by that time finding the midges on shore a bit too distracting!