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The Rutland Water Ospreys

The Rutland Water Ospreys

It hardly seems possible, but it is now 16 years since the first Ospreys were translocated to Rutland Water from north-east Scotland. What has followed has been a truly incredible story and one that I feel very privileged to have been part of for all but one of those years. There have been many highs – as well as a few lows – and we thought that it was about time, we put it all into words. So for the past year myself and John Wright, with help from Tim Appleton and Helen McIntyre (or Dixon as she is better known from her days with the project) have been working on a book that will be published by Bloomsbury on 14th March next year.

The book, entitled The Rutland Water Ospreys tells the story of the project, from initial conception on a cold winter’s day at Rutland Water, to the establishment of the breeding population we have today. We cover everything, from the translocation of chicks to monitoring the first breeding pairs and tracking the birds on their epic migration to West Africa. We also explain how the project has had a lasting legacy away from Rutland; its influence on the re-colionisation of Wales, paving the way for other translocation projects in Spain and Italy and our recent work to link communities along the migration flyway. The book is superbly illustrated throughout by John Wright’s wonderful artwork and photographs and there are also contributions from some of the volunteers who, over the past sixteen years, have dedicated more than 100,000 hours to the project.

The book, priced £19.99 will be published on 14th March next spring, and we will have signed copies for sale that will be available to pre-order from the website soon . We’ll be posting more infromation about that over the next few weeks, but please bear in mind that, thanks to Anglian Water, every penny of the sales we make goes direct to the project. So please order them direct from us!

You may also have seen that last weekend myself, Michelle Househam and Lizzie Lemon ran the Amsterdam marathon. I ran the full marathon in a personal best time of 3:28:56 and Michelle and Lizzie both successfully completed their first half-marathon in the very respectable time of 2:35. We were running to raise money for the project’s education work in West Africa where we are working with local bird guide Junkung Jadama to provide wildlife education for local schools. If you would like to sponsor us and to make the pain worthwhile you can do so via our online sponsoship page. Thank you very much for your ongoing support – it is greatly appreciated.

Michelle, myslef and Lizzie at the finish line in Amsterdam

The Sahara in video

As you may remember if you have been following the story, wildlife film-maker Lahoucine Faouzi  offered to travel to the south of Morocco to film the area on the edge of the Sahara where 09(98) died during his autumn migration. Thanks to the efforts of Farid Lacroix, we already know that 09 was almost certainly predated by an Eagle Owl as he prepared to cross the Sahara, but Lahoucine’s footage sheds further light on what a remote, inhospitable place 09 had reached. If conditions were poor when he arrived in the area on 11th September, he would have known not to fly any further. Ironically though, it was probably this decision that led to his demise – we think he was predated by an Eagle Owl as he roosted on a high ridge that night.

We are very grateful to Lahoucine for travelling to the area and sending us the film. It’s amazing to think that the vast majority of the Ospreys from the UK will have flown over terrain like this over the past few weeks. The high ridge that is visible in the distance after 2 mins 15 secs is one of the geographical features that our satellite tracking studies have shown Ospreys follow as they fly south across the Sahara. It’s really great to have some footage of this. Very many thanks to Lahoucine and his colleagues for their help.