By Abigail Mustard
I have just spent a great week volunteering with the Osprey Project, doing various tasks and below is my account of the week.
I arrive at the Lyndon Centre at 09.00 and meet Kayleigh, who gives me a brief overview of what I will be doing over the course of the week – it sounds exciting!
This morning I had an option and chose to walk down to the Waderscrape Hide and complete a shift, which entails monitoring the Ospreys. The best way to start the week (in my opinion)!
On my arrival I am greeted by an empty hide so I set up the telescope and see where the Ospreys are. As I look I see both Maya and 33(11) sitting beside each other on the perch above the nest.
10 minutes later I look down into the middle channel in front of the hide and see a Water Vole creeping out into the water and soon disappearing amongst the reeds! Although I have observed Water Voles a couple of times before when I have visited the reserve, it still manages to excite me!
Four hours having passed, my shift is over, and I am relieved by another volunteer to whom I explain that both Maya and 33 have predominantly remained on the perch, although 33 was absent for just over an hour.
Back at the centre, and after lunch, my first task of the week was to learn how to use the till. Luckily for me all I needed to know was explained to me by the volunteer on duty in the centre.
All too soon it was time to go home and I couldn’t wait for the next day where I was accompanying Ken on his shift to Site B!
After having been picked up by Ken at 07.20 I was really looking forward to the next four hours which I would spend watching 03(97)’s family at Site B.
Just over two hours into the shift Ken and I witnessed the fledging of the male chick 6K which made the shift one that we would both remember for a while to come! 6K completed a short circuit around the nest and after a minute he landed ungracefully on the back of 7K who became sprawled!
12.00 came around and it was time to leave the next volunteers to enjoy their shift, and to go back to Lyndon to tell the rest of the Osprey team about the fledging of 6K.
For the rest of the day I was in the centre talking to visitors about the project and staffing the desk.
I walked into Lyndon Visitor Centre this morning and Paul briefed me on the plan for the day. Between 09.30 and 12.30 I would be attending a guided walk around the reserve talking to guests about the Ospreys and the Project and about the nature reserve in general. Paul invited me to do the introductory talk at the beginning of the walk and it was a really good experience for me to talk about the season to members of the public.
On the guided walk we went down to the Waderscrape Hide where we were welcomed by a volunteer who pointed out Maya and 33 who were sitting on a perch. We then moved on to the Shallow Water hide and to the other hides around the reserve.
In the afternoon I was asked to write a blog about the shift up at Site B with Ken on Tuesday.
Today I was given the morning off as I would be attending a cruise in the evening, which would be raising money for a charity, where the Osprey Project had been invited to join, in order to talk about Ospreys and hopefully point one or more out to the guests.
This afternoon I arrived and went straight down to the Waderscrape Hide to do another shift. Both Ospreys were sitting on the perch above the nest and after a while 33 flew to the fallen tree by the side of the water where he was well camouflaged. Maya then flew around and dropping into the water to clean herself for ten minutes. During the shift a couple came in, having never seen an Osprey before, and left happy and excited having now seen two Ospreys!
At 18.00 Paul and I headed over to Whitwell to give out binoculars to those who wanted them and talked to a few people about the Osprey Project. We had a lovely evening for the cruise although it was slightly windy but wind is by far better than rain!
There was around 50 guests including the current Lord Lieutenant of Rutland and the present High Sheriff of Rutland and also some of the previous High Sheriffs.
Throughout the cruise Tim kept spotting distant Ospreys but finally there were four Ospreys flying in close proximity to each other, which everyone on the cruise could easily see. These Ospreys would be non-breeding birds.
Heading back to Whitwell Harbour the sunset was a beautiful, orange and yellowy colour which marked the end of an exciting cruise and day.
My last day here with the Osprey Project and Paul set me the task of summing up the total number of hours volunteers have completed at the monitoring sites including Manton Bay.
On having completed that task it was time to go with Lucy to do a school visit at Catmose College. We would be doing two different talks one for year 8 students and another for year 9 students.
Lucy had everyone’s attention and told the story of the Ospreys at Rutland Water including facts about their migration and the Project’s work in Africa. At the end of the talk Lucy asked me whether I would like to choose a section of the presentation to present. I was up for it, realising that I would be talking to nearly 200 students about Ospreys. Just before the talk started one of the students came in and started speaking to Lucy, from whom I gather he is a very keen young birdwatcher and it is great to see someone of his age already so interested in conservation.
My last hour was spent at Lyndon with Amy, who is also on work experience, talking to her about her week with the Outdoor Team and about Ospreys in general.
This week went so quickly and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of it!
The Rutland Osprey Team would like to say a huge thank you to Abi for all the hard work and enthusiasm she put in last week, and for this lovely write-up! It was great to have you with us Abi, and we hope to see you again soon!