150th osprey chick hatches at Rutland Water Nature Reserve

The Rutland Osprey Project celebrated a major milestone and welcomed its 150th chick into the world.

Maya and the 150th chick. © Rutland Water Nature Reserve

The partnership between Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and Anglian Water pioneered the reintroduction of ospreys, a magnificent bird of prey, back into England where they had been extinct for over 150 years.

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Ospreys were wiped out in England through persecution and habitat loss in the 1840’s, despite once been widely distributed across areas such as the Fens.

Between 1996 and 2001, 64 six-week-old Scottish ospreys were released at Rutland Water reservoir and the first translocated osprey returned to breed at its adopted home in 2001.

There are now 25 ospreys in total in the area and eight breeding pairs among them.

Maya and her mate, ‘33’, who hatched the 150th chick, have been breeding together at Manton Bay since 2015, and in that time have successfully reared 10 chicks.

Maya and '33' at the Manton Bay nest. © John Wright
Maya and ’33’ at the Manton Bay nest. © John Wright

In total, the couple laid four eggs this year and both parents have been incubating feverishly, their third chick to hatch this year brings the total so far to 150 chicks.

“Thousands of supporters and volunteers are celebrating this exciting milestone today. It’s fantastic that we now have so many ospreys back from migration and breeding at Rutland Water Nature Reserve,” says Marie Dipper, Osprey Project Officer.

“Some of our Rutland ospreys are spreading to other parts of the UK too, helping the UK osprey population to grow. We expect that many of our other pairs will produce healthy chicks which bodes well for the future of osprey populations in the UK.”

Rutland osprey Maya on nest. © Rutland Water Nature Reserve
Rutland osprey Maya on nest. © Rutland Water Nature Reserve

This year’s osprey chicks are likely to remain in Rutland until early September when they will set-off on a 3000-mile migration to West Africa, those that survive will return when they are two years old.

The nest at Rutland Water Nature Reserve can be viewed via a live webcam.

Manton Bay osprey nest at Rutland Water. © John Wright
Manton Bay osprey nest at Rutland Water. © John Wright
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Main image: Maya and the 150th chick. © Rutland Water Nature Reserve