Early bird surprises experts

An osprey has returned to her nest at Rutland Water earlier than expected.

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Maya has returned to her nest © John Wright

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Conservationists were startled by the reappearance of a female osprey to her nest in Manton Bay, Rutland Water.

At approximately 12.30pm on 12 March, the osprey known as Maya was spotted on the webcam at her nest.

“We are happy to announce our breeding female from Manton Bay at Rutland Water has returned from her migration,” says Anya Wicikowski, project officer for Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.

“Maya turned up surprisingly early this year. We are now looking forward to the male returning in the hopes we can have another successful breeding season.”

Maya and her mate at their nest in a previous year © John Wright

12 March is the earliest date on record for an osprey returning to Rutland Water. In 2017, an osprey was seen there on 17 March, which was the previous earliest return date.

According to BirdGuides, there were three reports of ospreys on 10 and 11 March from East Sussex, Norfolk and Fife.

Upon her return, Maya immediately caught a fish and ate it on the nest. 

The nest can be viewed via a webcam on the Rutland Ospreys website

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Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine