The Calvert Trust had a big booking for their Motor Boat Cruise yesterday, twice the two boats’ capacity. Rising to the challenge a double session was arranged, 16.00-18.00 and the usual 18.00-20.00. NWT volunteer Margaret did a double shift, here is her account:-
An exceptional evening in many respects with 30 booked for the trips. All were staying in Bellingham for the wedding, this Saturday, of Natasha and Richard. Dave and Pat were our boatmen for both trips with Joanna and I as the volunteers for the 4pm trips and Glynis and I for the 6pm ones.
On the first outing we had several good sightings with Natasha particularly keen to learn as much as possible about osprey. The sand martins also put on a good display but the highlight was seeing two osprey at the same time as we came back to Wickhope. They were close enough to get good sightings without binoculars and stayed long enough for the guests to watch from the jetty at the end of their trip.
Unfortunately the two osprey did not stay around for the arrival of the second group but not long after we set off again two deer were seen on the north shore by Pat’s boat who radioed the sighting to us. We edged the boats closer to the shore and everyone was able to see at least one of the deer. For one of the Australians in the party this was the highlight of the trip having seen osprey on many previous occasions. We soon had our first sighting of the osprey, followed by several more, with Dave and a couple of the guests particularly good a spotting the birds. Around 6.50 Dave spotted a bird dive for fish, and we all watched it struggle to get airborne with a large wriggling fish. After around 10 minutes it eventually reached tree height and initially looked as if it was heading for Nest 1A but then headed off out of sight towards the dam. We felt privileged to have witnessed such a sight but there was more to come. A cormorant and a mallard did fly pasts and then as we headed back to Wickhope another osprey came into view and caught a fish! We had good views of the bird and its fish as it flew closer before heading off with its catch – as I say an exceptional evening – what more could we ask?
What a great evening for the wedding party! Neither of the two catches seen on the second cruise were YA – the first cruise possibly saw him hunting from a distance. Here he is escaping from the frenzy at the nest!