A beautiful sunny evening with a slight breeze brought the ospreys out in numbers to the delight of the seven visitors on the Calvert Trust motorboat. Roughly half were on holiday from southern England, the rest had travelled from Newcastle.
The last couple of cruises hadn’t even left the jetty before an osprey was seen so it was a slight anticlimax to leave Whickhope Anchorage without a similar experience. After that it was sometimes a case of which bird to watch! The first one sighted was in view for a good ten minutes hunting without success.
Three ospreys were near each other at one point but two close to each other were regularly spotted. The first time this happened was quite near the dam and an osprey was being harassed by Swallows – they nest on the valve tower. The osprey seemed to be ‘chipping’ at them, but then we saw a second osprey, the real reason for the calls.
The next osprey had a missing feather on the left wing. As Blue 2H, the 2012 Nest 2 male, has such a characteristic he was a strong candidate but the osprey seen today is definitely not him. Back to the drawing board!
Our driver Andy took us into the Belling inlet where ospreys hunt and have been seen on previous cruises, but no joy. However Buzzards and a Kestrel were reasonable substitutes. We had just left to head towards Nest 1 when two ospreys were seen flying towards the inlet. As we headed back to the inlet they – or presumably the same pair – emerged and flew towards the dam.
Several times an osprey flew low over the water without actually attempting to catch a fish. On occasion one would fly far too high to be able to see prey but it could observe conditions – and other birds – on different areas of the reservoir.
A juvenile Buzzard and its parents displayed, filling an ‘osprey free’ few minutes until another was sighted!
In all we must have seen between five and seven ospreys and possibly more in a double figure number of sightings evening. None of the birds near enough to photograph appear to have rings.
Back at the jetty the midges appeared but couldn’t spoil what had been a great evening of osprey watching!