The last of this season’s Calvert Trust/NWT cruises took place last night. Here is the report from Gillie, who had already done a shift on Osprey Watch, top marks for enthusiasm and stamina:-
We had had a really fantastic day on Osprey Watch, and I really didn’t think that the evening could possibly match up to it, but it did. The weather had been kind to us all day, but I knew what the weather forecasts were predicting – rain – beginning at about 17.30. The predictions were right, unfortunately. The drizzling started about the time that I got into my car to go the short distance to the Calvert Trust.
I met the group I was taking out – a couple from Hexham, who knew a lot about birds, and had been out on one of Kielder ornithologist Martin’s Goshawk tours, a father and son (about 13) where the son was particularly interested in birds, particularly the highly coloured ones (hence quite a bit of talk on the tour about the European Bee-eaters at Brampton, in Cumbria), and another couple who had come along with the mum of the young lady. We had Dave as our skipper.
As happened with Margaret’s trip a couple of weeks ago, the engine played up as soon as we got onto the boat – ‘Happy Days’. As Dave was fiddling about with the motors, I was talking about Ospreys, and everyone was doing introductions. I then saw a very large bird coming from the left of the jetty – an Osprey! We were all really excited about the sighting, which was good, and I was trying to counteract the rush to the port side of the boat, by steadfastly remaining on the starboard side, as we were angled a bit. The bird flew off towards the dam. Dave had a lot of problems with the engine, but soon after we were motoring off, using the noisy outboard, we saw the Osprey coming back from the dam direction – this time with a fish. It changed direction several times, so we spun slowly in the water so that we could track its movements. It couldn’t make up its mind which direction to go, and seemed almost to be putting on a display for us. Everyone was really happy about it, in spite of the fact that we were having to view it in the rain. It eventually flew off, roughly in the direction it had come from in the first place. The rest of the trip had no further sightings of Ospreys, although we did see one Cormorant, a group of yellow-legged Lesser Blackbacked Gulls, and we watched a Kestrel hovering, just as we were coming back in to the jetty. Several Swallows were dipping over the water. We had an enjoyable, if damp, circuit of the reservoir, and everyone was in high spirits when they got back to the jetty.
Dave had managed to get the quieter engine going about half way through the cruise, which was lovely. ‘Happy Days’ may need some work on her to live up to her name.
The last cruise of the year, and a good one!
So who was the successful fisherman or woman? Given the number of intruding ospreys around in addition to the three breeding pairs (there is no evidence at all that any of the Nest 1 and 2 juveniles have caught a fish) there are a number of possibilities. However, a prime candidate must be YA from Nest 1 who arrived at his nest with quite a respectable new catch at just after 18.00. Here is an image of VP tucking into the new offering as VY makes do with a remnant Mrs YA had dropped off a few minutes earlier.