Just in case you were undecided, we thought we’d give you a helping hand with our ten reasons to come to Osprey Family Fun Day…
1. Ospreys are amazing. Duh?
But seriously, even with all the ups and downs from the Manton Bay Nest this year, Rutland Water Nature Reserve is still the best place to see Ospreys in central England, less than an hour away from some major urban areas: Leicester, Nottingham and Peterborough. They’re on view from our Waderscrape Hide at the Lyndon Nature Reserve on the South Shore of the reservoir and there will be helpful ‘Guides in Hides’ throughout the day to chat to you about Ospreys, migration and the individuals around the county. You may be lucky enough to see one fishing, but even when they’re simply perched they’re still majestic and charismatic.
2. Great for Kids
With our Osprey Passport, your children can become certified Rutland Osprey Rangers: on entry, all children will be given a small goody bag containing their very own Osprey Ring wristband, mask and interactive passport for them to fill in on the way round the Reserve. The wristbands will be personalised with real life Ospreys in the area, so when you get home you’ll be able to log on to our website and read all about your Osprey. The interactive passport will challenge you to complete certain tasks and games whilst you migrate through the reserve to Africa (Waderscrape Hide), and you’ll get a stamp for each activity that you complete. When you’re done, show a member of staff in the Visitor Centre and you’ll be presented with an Osprey certificate, showing you to be a real Osprey expert. Activities include making bug boxes and bird feeders to take home, playing our new game ‘Race to Gambia’, catching fish in our mini reservoir and identifying a real wild Osprey. If you’re a bit shy, we’re happy to let you wander around on your own, but if you want to get more involved, there’ll be great opportunities to make new friends. We’re also hoping for a Ringing Demonstration, so you may get to see birds close up, too.
3. Great for Parents
With the holidays looming ahead, this is a cheap and fun day out for all the family. Priced at £10 per family or only £5 for families with a single child, this is your chance to explore the reserve at a discounted cost; your children will be educated and entertained, and they’ll be lots of fresh air, exercise and play. There’s our beautiful picnic area (where Little Owls have been hanging out for the past week!), so you can set up base camp there or simply meander through the meadows and woodlands. Our informative and helpful staff will be able to give you more details about the reservoir and the wider work of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, too!
4. The Healthy Alternative
Other than the ice creams, spending the day at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve is much healthier than going to the cinema. There are lots of studies from different organisations (the Wildlife Trusts, the RSPB, the National Trust, etc.) and others (Project Wild Thing, the University of Essex, etc.) that suggest that getting children outside and ‘connected’ with nature is vitally important for their health; they’ll concentrate more, they’ll be happier, more relaxed, less stressed, not to mention exhausted after walking the length of the reserve so your guaranteed a good nights’ sleep, too! Bringing kids along to Osprey Family Fun Day is a gentle introduction to wildlife, even for those who don’t see nature as being ‘cool’ – no matter what their age.
5. Meet the staff
We have so many supporters and it really would be lovely to meet you in person. You’ve read the blogs, seen the photos and maybe spoke to us on the phone, but this is a chance to have chat with us face to face; we’re always looking for new ideas that can make Lyndon Visitor Centre bigger and better, so share your thoughts with us.
6. We’ll go ahead whatever the weather
If you’re travelling more than a few miles, it’s good to know that when you get to us we’re going to be going ahead: we are! Come rain or shine Osprey Family Fun Day will still be great – the Visitor Centre is comfortable with all the usual facilities, including tea and coffee, cold drinks, ice creams, snacks and a gift shop, toilets, a seating area and even an electronic buggy to hire for the less able. If it’s raining, activities will be placed under marquees or in the Hides, so there’s no worries there and honestly a bit of rain never hurt anyone. I’ve just checked the forecast though, and fingers crossed it’s looking like a sunny day.
7. Other Wildlife
No matter what your preference, Rutland Water has something for everyone. Butterflies, moths, dragonflies and plants sit alongside our gorgeous feathered, furred and scaly nature: birds include Ospreys (of course), warblers, ducks, geese, grebes, egrets, tits, finches, sparrows (including the more scarce Tree Sparrow), buntings, terns, gulls, waders, owls, kites, buzzards, falcons, swifts, hirundines and so much more. Regularly seen on the reserve are Stoats, Bank Voles and the like, and the team will put out some small mammal traps to see what we can show you close up. Water Voles are a star attraction from Waderscrape Hide, too, being seen hourly.
8. More than Wildlife
At the Rutland Osprey Project, we’re not content to just talk about Ospreys – culture and community is just as important and by following the Ospreys’ migration, we’ve been able to learn all about different people and places from Senegal and the Gambia all the way to Spain, France and Northern Africa. By undertaking their own mini migration, children will learn all about these human elements of conservation, too.
9. Get inspired
No matter what your age, we want you to be involved with the Rutland Osprey Project; if you’re a young’un you can talk to us about visiting with your school – or us visiting you! We’re passionate about inspiring the next generation of conservationists, having interacted with over 3,000 children this season alone, and we can chat to you about work experience, future careers or other wildlife activities for you to get involved with. If you’re a bit older but wanting to support us, we can tell you about volunteering opportunities, future events and courses or membership, too, as well as the wider work of the Wildlife Trusts.
10. Ice Cream – any excuse.
Ciao – hope to see you there! x