The data for the last 10 days shows that 30 is still settled at her wintering site

When will 30 head home?

It is felt a little more Spring-like at Rutland Water in recent days and it won’t be long before the first Sand Martins will be zipping back and forth over the reservoir. We know from satellite tracking studies that the earliest-arriving Ospreys will be beginning their northward migration in the next few days and so checking 30(05)’s latest satellite data is always more exciting at this time of year. The latest data shows that she is still at her wintering site on the Senegalese coast and, in reality, she probably won’t begin the long journey back to Rutland Water until the second week in March. Rest-assured we will let you know as soon as she sets-off!

The data for the last 10 days shows that 30 is still settled at her wintering site

The data for the last 10 days shows that 30 is still settled at her wintering site

The Senegalese coastline between Dakar and St Louis supports a large wintering population of Ospreys and, as we know from last winter’s visit to Senegal by members of the project team, 30 spends her winter in the company of many other Ospreys. In recent weeks one of the birds she is likely to have come into contact with is UV: a first winter juvenile male from Northumberland. Joanna Dailey has kindly sent UV’s data from 23 February and it shows that he skirted around 30′s winter territory. Having watched the interactions between adult and juvenile Ospreys in Africa this is to be expected; most juveniles learn that they can not mess with established wintering birds, such as 30! For more on UV’s travels in Senegal, check out the Kielder Ospreys excellent blog.

The data from UV's transmitter showed how he avoided 30's winter territory

The data from UV’s transmitter showed how he avoided 30′s winter territory on Monday this week (image courtesy of Forestry Commission England)

30 is one of the Ospreys that we’ll be following during World Osprey Week from 23-29 March this year. You can see the latest locations of the WOW Ospreys on our new interactive map.

Children at Provo Primary School in the Turks and Caicos ISlands learning about Ospreys during WOW in 2014

Children at Provo Primary School in the Turks and Caicos Islands learning about Ospreys during WOW in 2014

Closer to home preparations are nearing completion for the new Osprey season at Rutland Water. We’ll have a brand new Osprey viewing hide thanks to generous funding from Caterpillar and a new and improved webcam thanks to the Martin Lawrence Memorial Trust. More details soon!

The new Osprey hide opens on 14th March

The new Osprey hide opens on 14th March

WOW logo competition

WOW logo competition

World Osprey Week is now just over five weeks away and we now have a brand new logo to advertise it with. You might remember that before Christmas we ran a competition – open to all participating schools – to design a new WOW logo that was ‘striking, instantly recognisable and easy to reproduce’. We received over thirty entries from schools in the UK, Spain and Poland and we now have great pleasure in announcing the winner…

So a huge well done to  Natalia Gutkowska from Zespół Szkół w Dobrzykach in northern Poland for designing this brilliant logo. We think that it encapsulates World Osprey Week perfectly – the Osprey linking children across the world.

Poland osprey1 001

In the photo below Natalia is with Klaudia Czarnota whose logo we also loved. Klaudia was awarded third place behind Jemima Hart from Brooke Priory School in Rutland. Special mentions also to entries from Hurst Lodge School from Berkshire and Montorre and Urretxindorra schools from the Basque Country in Northern Spain which were also superb.

Natalia Gutkowska (left) with her winning design and Claudia Czarnota who was third

Natalia Gutkowska (left) with her winning design and Claudia Czarnota who was third

Jemima Hart from Brooke Priory School was awarded 2nd place for her logo

Jemima Hart from Brooke Priory School was awarded second place for her logo

Klaudia's logo which was awarded third place

Klaudia Czarnota’s logo which was awarded third place

Many congratulations to Natalia, Jemima and Klaudia and thank you to everyone who entered. We really enjoyed seeing your brilliant logos. Watch out for more on WOW early next week. For more information about WOW, including details of how to sign-up for free, click here.

30(05) is one of the Ospreys we'll be following during World Osprey Week

WOW! New interactive map

The second World Osprey Week is now just two months away and, like last year, we’ll be following satellite-tagged Ospreys as they fly north to nests in the UK, Finland and North America. Over the past few months Dave Morton from Morton Carnie has been working on a new interactive map that shows both the current location of the Ospreys we’re tracking and also the participating schools. You can also watch an animation of the birds’ autumn migration using the controls at the bottom of the screen. It is fascinating to see the different routes – and speeds – of each migration. Great work, Dave!

You can view the interactive map by clicking here. To read more about the different WOW Ospreys, click here.

Watch out for more news about World Osprey Week, next week.

30(05) is one of the Ospreys we'll be following during World Osprey Week

30(05) is one of the Ospreys we’ll be following during World Osprey Week

 

The latest satellite data shows that 30(05) continues to favour the same section of Senegalese beach each day

Merry Christmas

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we know where at least two of the Rutland Ospreys will be on Christmas Day. The latest satellite data shows that 30(05) remains very settled on the coast of Senegal and, a few hundred miles south, her daghter, 5F(12) is wintering at Tanji in The Gambia.

The latest satellite data shows that 30(05) continues to favour the same section of Senegalese beach each day

The latest satellite data shows that 30(05) continues to favour the same section of Senegalese beach each day

But there’s a third Osprey that we ought to mention too. His name is Ozzie. Let the children of Edith Weston Primary School explain…

The satellite tracking data really helps to bring the Osprey’s amazing migration life and we are very grateful to the East Midlands Group of the Hawk and Owl Trust for donating £500 towards the ongoing costs of receiving the data. This is the third year that the group has supported our work – so a huge thank you Chairman Simon Dudhill and the rest of the group.

A team of six volunteers erected the hide

A new Osprey viewing hide

It may be three months before we expect the first Ospreys to return to Rutland Water, but work is well-underway in preparation for their arrival. By far the biggest Osprey project job of the winter is the replacement of Waderscape hide at Lyndon. Waderscrape provides superb views of the Manton Bay Osprey nest and the new hide will be a great place to sit and enjoy the comings and going in the bay. It is larger than the old hide and much brighter and airier thanks to large glass viewing slots and windows. The hide, which has been funded thanks to our partnership with Caterpillar, has been erected by a team of volunteers, led by Ron Follows and Dave Cole over the past couple of weeks. Now that the hide is watertight we’ll be installing interpretation and a large screen TV – which will show live images from the nest camera – in the new year.

We are honoured that the Martin Lawrence Memorial Trust will be funding children’s learning resources for the new hide. Martin was a daily visitor to Waderscrape hide and made many friends among the project team. He very sadly died in October this year but we are delighted that his memory will live on through the kind donation and also a permanent memorial in the hide.

A team of six volunteers erected the hide

A team of six volunteers erected the hide

Putting the roof on

Putting the roof on

The new hide is bright and airy

The new hide is bright and airy

Looking back at the hide

Looking back at the hide

Part of the new interpretative material will be funded by a generous donation from the Horse and Jockey pub in nearby Manton. Over the course of the year the Horse and Jockey have included the ‘Osprey’s Nest’ (which is a bowl of nachos and chili) on their menu and each time someone has ordered one, they have donated 50p to the project: which amounted to £292 this year. A huge thank you to owner Jason Allen and all of the Horse and Jockey team. This is the third year that Jason and his team have made a donation to the project and we’re very grateful for their continuing support.

Horse and Jockey owner, Jason Allen (left) and myself with the Osprey's Nest

Horse and Jockey owner, Jason Allen (left) and myself with the Osprey’s Nest

As the work at the hide demonstrates, volunteers are vital to the running of Rutland Water Nature Reserve. We have a hugely dedicated team of over 350 people who help with all aspects of the reserve – from habitat management to welcoming visitors. Work is now underway on a new Volunteer Training Centre at the reserve which will provide much-needed new facilities to support the amazing work of volunteers. We’re currently running an appeal to raise the final funds for this exciting and innovative new building. To find out more, click here.

Three of the students from St Martin's Basic Cycle School who have helped out with the Osprey survey

Osprey Survey in The Gambia

Over the past three years we have been working with schools in The Gambia in an effort to help the students to learn more about Ospreys and the rest of the amazing wildlife that they have on their doorstep. We hope that the work, which is being coordinated by Junkung Jadama as part of the Osprey Flyways Project, will raise awareness of conservation and encourage the students to take more of an interest in the natural world; and maybe even think about a career in the environment.

Junkung visits all of the schools regularly to give the students talks and also takes groups out on fieldtrips. This gives the young people an opportunity that they simply wouldn’t get given the limited resources of each of the schools. This year we have embarked on another exciting new venture for the project – a survey of wintering Ospreys in coastal Gambia. The survey is being led by Junkung along with Clive Barlow, author of the Birds of Gambia and Senegal and Lamin Sanyang from the Gambian Department of Parks and Wildlife Management. Not only is this helping to provide valuable information on the wintering population of Ospreys in the region, but it is also providing fieldwork experience for students who have shown a real interest during previous fieldtrips. The winter-long survey began in late October and four of the students from St Martin’s Basic Cycle School in Kartong who joined the team have written about their experiences:

Junkung Jadama and Clive Barlow with students during one of the survey days

Junkung Jadama (second left) and Clive Barlow (seated) with students during one of the survey days

25th and 26th October

Being members of the Osprey Flyways Project the school privileged us to attend a birdwatching survey. It gave us great pleasure to be selected and take part in this survey. After having successfully conducted the survey, we intend to write these few words to express the experience we have gained in the course of the survey.

It was a two day trip (25th and 26th October 2014) lead by junking Jadama and Clive Barlow. We have always been hearing about Clive (the writer of a book on Gambian and Senegal birds) but we’ve never met him in person. This trip gave us the opportunity to meet him and interact with him. It also gave us the opportunity to see places we’ve never been to e.g. Bato Kunku, Tanji and Brufut Beaches.

During our survey we focussed on birds that are completely new to us. It was very interesting for us to see and identify European birds like the Osprey. We also learnt and observed their mode of feeding through fishing. We were amazed to find out that some of these Ospreys were ringed with different colours and marks/numbers.

One of the most interesting and enjoyable parts of the whole thing is our opportunity to use binoculars and telescopes. These are things we learnt in science but never saw them, not to talk of using them. Today we are proud that our knowledge on these gadgets is above the rest of our classmates because we saw them and used them freely; an opportunity our friends did not have. Because of the fact that everything was enjoyable and interesting, we did not even feel the long distance walked during the survey.

On a final note, we want to reaffirm our delightedness and gratefulness to Junkung and the Osprey Flyways Project for the interesting lessons taught to us. We strongly promise to continue our membership.

Farnara Jatta and Fatoy Secka

Three of the students from St Martin's Basic Cycle School who have helped out with the Osprey survey

Three of the students from St Martin’s Basic Cycle School who have helped out with the Osprey survey

29th and 30th November

We are members of the Osprey Flyways Project of St Martin’s Basic Cycle School, Kartong. We were selected to go for a birdwatching survey which took place on the 29th and 30th November 2014 and are happy to write about a few of the many things that we have experienced.
In the first place, we were exposed to places we never knew before, e.g. Tanji Marsh, Tanji Bird Reserve, Madiana and Bijoli Island. We really enjoyed our first ever boat trip into the Atlantic Ocean to Bijoli Island.

Secondly, our opportunity to see and learn the names of birds of different species and origin was a great achievement. It was interesting for us to know that some birds migrate all the way from Europe; including Osprey, Northern Gannet and many others. We saw some Ospreys that were ringed in Europe in different colours and numbers.

Our friends who preceded us in the birdwatching spoke to us about binoculars and telescopes which we were eager to see. Our participation in this trip gave us the opportunity to see and use them.

For us it is impossible to over-emphasise the experience gained, these among others are great achievements. We want to thank our coordinator (Mr Jallow) and Junkung for the exposure. We are happy to be members of the Osprey Flyways Project and we will encourage our friends to join the club so that they can also gain benefits.

Ebrima Bojang and Kaddy Darboe

Count the Ospreys! 8 Ospreys on Bijoli Island during the survey (photo by Olly Fox)

Count the Ospreys! 8 Ospreys on Bijoli Island during the survey (photo by Olly Fox)

All of the work carried out by the Osprey Flyways Project is funded by donations and our own fund-raising activities. Much of the funding for the Osprey survey has kindly been donated by IEPUK from Uppingham. This not-for-profit education and training organisation has become a valuable supporter of the project and earlier this month all of the IEPUK team took part in the annual Santa Fun Run in Stamford to help raise more funds for the project. They raised almost £300. A huge thank you to IEPUK for their ongoing support and for everyone who sponsored the team. If you would like to make a contribution to help the project, you can still do so here.

The IEPUK team at the Santa Fun Run (you might recognise a guest member of the team, second left)

The IEPUK team at the Santa Fun Run (you might recognise a guest member of the team, second left)

You can clearly read 5F's blue ring in this photo

Rutland Ospreys in Africa

Every time I download the latest satellite tracking data from 30(05)’s GPS transmitter it never ceases to amaze me. She’s wintering almost 3000 miles away on the Senegalese coast and yet I can tell you exactly where she roosted last night. Remarkable!

As we have come to expect, the latest batch of GPS fixes show that 30 has remained faithful to the same short section of coastline just south of the fishing village of Tiougoune, midway between Dakar and St Louis. She follows the same daily routine each day; catching a fish soon after first light and then spending most of the day perched on the beach. She then roosts in trees about 100 metres inland. To find out more about here winter home, click here.

The latest data shows that 30 is settled on the usual  short section of Senegalese coastline

The latest data shows that 30 is settled on the usual short section of Senegalese coastline

Although 30(05) is the only Osprey we’re currently satellite-tracking, we do know where another Rutland bird is spending the winter – and the bird in question happens to be 30′s daughter! Last December Osprey project volunteer Chris Wood was thrilled to see 5F(12) in The Gambia. He identified her at Tanji Marsh, a site that myself and the project team know very well from our trips to Gambia and Senegal. At the time 5F was too young to have returned to the UK, but it was really encouraging to know that she had at made it to Africa.

Given that most young Ospreys first return to the UK at two years of age, we hoped to see 5F at Rutland Water this summer. Although that never happened, I received the exciting news yesterday that she is now back at Tanji Marsh. Chris Wood is in The Gambia again and he’s sent us a series of photos of 5F that he took at the marsh yesterday. This is really exciting news because it suggests that she is now settled at Tanji, just as her mother is on the Senegal coast. Well done, Chris!

You can clearly read 5F's blue ring in this photo

5F(12) at Tanji Marsh yesterday

5F at Tanji 2

5F Tanji

It is great to know where one of the Rutland birds is spending the winter, but the fact that 5F has settled at Tanji is particularly significant. The Gambian fishing village is where we initiated the Osprey Flyways Project in 2011 and, as a result, we have strong links with Tanji Lower Basic School. We have recently installed a suit of computers in the school thanks to funding from Melton Mowbrary Rotary club and the school have even named one of their football teams ‘the Ospreys’!

Some of the computers we recently installed at Tanji Lower Basic School

Some of the computers we recently installed at Tanji Lower Basic School

Children at Tanji Lower Basic school wearing football kits donated by two Rutland schools

Children at Tanji Lower Basic school wearing football kits donated by two Rutland schools

The computers will allow children at Tanji to participate in World Osprey Week in March – and now that we know there is a Rutland Osprey within a short walk from the school, that takes on even more significance. Exciting times indeed!

We are always looking for ways to raise money for the Osprey Flyways Project and, with this in mind, I’m joining a team from IEPUK to run the Stamford Santa Fun Run. This involves running 5km dressed as Santa! If you would like to sponsor us, you can do so here. Any money raised will go towards our work in Gambia.Thanks to George Peach and IEPUK for their continued support of the project.

WOW logo competition

WOW logo competition

As we reported on the website a few days ago, we’re already looking forward to World Osprey Week 2015. As part of the preparations for what we hope will be an even bigger and better celebration of Ospreys, we’d like your school’s help. Today we’re launching a special competition for schools to design a logo for WOW.

WOW Logo Competition

The key to the success of World Osprey Week is the involvement of schools all around the world and we’d love the new logo to reflect that. We’d like a logo that is striking and instantly recognisable. Most importantly of all though, we’d like a logo that has been designed by a student (or students) at one of the WOW schools.

The logo should be simple and easy to reproduce, and reflect the key aims of WOW: to link young people all over the world through their shared studies of these incredible birds and their amazing migratory journeys. It is open for any school to enter.

Children at Tenterden Junior School in Kent with their WOW work

Children at Tenterden Junior School in Kent with their WOW work

How to Enter

Entering the competition is simple. Scanned logo artwork can be email to timmackrill@rutlandwater.org.uk or you can post it to Tim Mackrill, Birdwatching Centre, Egleton, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 8BT. The logo design should be on paper no larger than A4. Please remember that the design must be easy for us to reproduce.

The closing date for entries is 31st December and a winner we be selected in January. The winning design will then be used on the website and all future WOW publicity and materials. The winning school will receive a special Osprey goody bag and also a visit from the Rutland Osprey team – either in person or by Skype, depending on where you are in the world!

We look forward to receiving your entries!

Year 2 children at Provo Primary School during World Osprey Week

Year 2 children at Provo Primary School during World Osprey Week

Year 2 children at Provo Primary School during World Osprey Week

World Osprey Week 2015

Earlier this year we organised the first-ever World Osprey Week. This was an exciting opportunity for schools all around the world to follow the amazing migratory journeys of satellite-tagged Ospreys as they flew north to nests in Europe and North America. Over 100 schools from nine different countries followed nine satellite-tagged Ospreys on their spring migration to nests in the UK, Finland, Corsica and North America. In addition we provided free teaching resources that allowed teachers at both primary and secondary schools to incorporate Ospreys and their remarkable journeys into just about any subject. We also encouraged participating schools to get in touch with each other:  the week culminated with a Skype link up between students in the UK, Italy, Spain, Gambia and the United States. It was a great success.

Year 2 children at Provo Primary School during World Osprey Week

Year 2 children at Provo Primary School during World Osprey Week

Following the success of this year, WOW 2015 will be even bigger and better. We’re currently working on a new WOW website with a new and improved interactive map that will allow schools to easily keep track of the Ospreys as they migrate, and to check out the location of other participating schools. Thanks to the hard work of ex-teachers and Rutland Osprey Project volunteers Jackie and Pete Murray we’ll also have even more teaching resources available to download.

WOW 2015 will take place from 23-29 March next year, but you can sign up to get involved now. Registering for the website only a takes a few seconds and gives you instant and completely free access to the teaching resources. You then have the option to fill-in a simple form that will add your school to the list of WOW schools on the website; giving you the opportunity to get in touch with other participating schools.

One of the schools who got involve in WOW this year was Hurst Lodge School in Berkshire. They enjoyed it so much that music teacher Andrew Holdsworth wrote a song about Ospreys which the children have performed under the direction of Nicky Milburn. Check out their brilliant music video below. You’ll be humming it for the rest of the day! Many thanks to Andy McCoy for sending video and for his enthusiastic support of WOW.

The Osprey Song – performed by the Juniors at Hurst Lodge School from Andrew Holdsworth on Vimeo.

All schools who register for the WOW 2015 will be able to download the lyrics and an instrumental version of the song. A huge thank you to Hurst Lodge School for this.

Another school who really enjoyed participating in WOW this year was Provo Primary School in the Turks and Caicos Islands. As part of their involvement in WOW, students at the school helped to build a new Osprey nest on the island, which excitingly, is now being used by Ospreys! Check out the school’s blog to read more.

Next week we’ll have news of an exciting competition that will help your school get in the mood for WOW 2015 – and help us to promote it at the same time – so watch this space!

30 photographed on the beach by John Wright last winter

Settled at her winter home

Our satellite-tagged Osprey, 30(05), has now been at her wintering site on the Senegal coast for over six weeks, and she has settled into the same winter routine as last year. Like last year she is fishing a maximum of 2km out to sea once or twice per day and then spending the rest of her time perched in exactly the same places as last winter; either on the beach or in the scattered trees just inland. You can see just how similar her daily routines are to last year by checking out the satellite tracking map and zooming in on the beach.

30 is spending her winter on exactly the same section of Senegalese beach as last winter

The past ten days’ satellite data shows that 30 is spending her winter on exactly the same section of Senegalese beach as last winter

The fact that 30 is favouring the same area as last winter is typical of an adult Osprey; most remain faithful to the same wintering site each year. When John Wright, Paul Stammers, Cat Barlow and Junkung Jadama visited the beach last winter they thought that it was a safe place for an Osprey to spend the winter and so it is excellent news that she is settled there again. You can read more about their visit here.

30 photographed on the beach by John Wright last winter

30 photographed on the beach by John Wright last winter