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By Tim on December 24, 2014
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.
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.
By Tim on December 23, 2014
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.
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.
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.
By Tim on December 22, 2014
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:
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
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
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.
By Tim on December 5, 2014
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.
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!
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’!
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.
By Tim on November 12, 2014
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.
How to Enter
Entering the competition is simple. Scanned logo artwork can be email to email@example.com 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!
By Tim on November 7, 2014
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.
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.
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!
By Tim on October 28, 2014
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.
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.
By Tim on October 9, 2014
In March this year we linked over 100 schools from nine different countries during the inaugural World Osprey Week. We hoped that links with schools located elsewhere on the Osprey migratory flyways would bring the amazing migratory journeys to life for the students. The week was a great success and plans are well underway for World Osprey Week 2015 from 23rd-29th March next year.
Although the focus of World Osprey Week is on the spring migration of the Ospreys, we hope that schools will continue to follow the Ospreys and to maintain links throughout the year. With this in mind, last week Xarles Cepeda from the Urdaibai Bird Center in the Basque Country organised a Skype call to link some of the schools who participated in WOW in March. I was asked to chair the call and so it was with some excitement that I arrived at Edith Weston School in Rutland last Friday afternoon. Edith Weston is the closest school to the Lyndon Visitor Centre and so it seemed fitting for them to be involved. We logged onto Skype and established connections with the Urdaibai Bird Centre (where children from Montorre and Urretxindorra Schools were waiting), Bolonia School in Tarifa in southern Spain, Istituto Comprensivo Grosseto 1 in Italy and Tanji Lower Basic School in The Gambia. We were also joined on Skype by Iain MacLeod from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in New Hampshire, USA. You may remember that we followed one of Iain’s satellite tagged Ospreys, named Donovan, during WOW.
The Skype call allowed the children from the different schools to give short presentations about Ospreys and Iain talked about his work with Ospreys in the United States: with the aid of the Osprey that he keeps at Squam Lakes. The Osprey was found injured a few years agao and although it never recovered sufficiently to be released, Iain now uses the Osprey to teach students about the birds.
The children from Edith Weston read stories and poems that they had written about Osprey migration. Here are two of them:
Osprey’s Journey by Alicia
I looked around and saw the dull grey water and the trees – leaves abandoned. A strong wind ruffled in my feathers and the temperature began to drop. These were signs to tell me that it was Winter: the time all ospreys go to Africa, where the warmth lives. I spread my enormous wings – my journey had just begun.
Quickly, I flapped my wings against the harsh wind which was so strong that I had to use all my effort as I was so heavy with my large wingspan. I was soaring past fluffy snow-white but the golden sun never moved out of the way. It was as if it was chasing me while I glided through the deep blue sky.
In front of my eyes was my rest point, France! I heard children say “Bonjour,” to me; I realized that it meant “hello,” in my home’s language, English. I also heard people talk about a lake: lake means fish! Dinner was now in my hands! I flew over to the lake they were talking about and I caught a mackerel, a wriggling eel and a rainbow trout: eels were said to be rare in that lake! I had a rest on the Eiffel Tower: the land mark my parents talked about and I set off to Madrid, Spain!
Off I went soaring through the sky again, heading to Spain with the wind carrying me across the horizon to my next destination. While I was flying, I caught ten mackerel: fresh from the sea. “Yummy,” I whispered, looking out for land for Spain.
Sooner than I thought, there it was, Spain! I screeched in happiness as I was so close to Africa! Carefully, I listened to cheering which lead me to the football stadium where I gave Spain a goal because I kicked the ball into the goal. Everyone went crazy about my goal – have they never seen an osprey play football? I went over to a little stream for my dinner – you can tell I love my fish. I thought I should go to and set off to Africa.
I left Spain and set off to Africa, wondering what it might be like – the only thing I knew about it was the warmth, the sun and rare fish. I knew I was getting close because it was getting hotter and hotter.
I saw millions of ospreys dead ahead of me; I knew I was at the right place. My family was waving to me and all my friends were glad to see me. I enjoyed my journey and now I am happy to be in Africa with all my relations.
An Osprey’s migration by Melissa
This was the time. I am going to migrate to Africa. It will be a huge change in my life. I will miss the nest, the hides (though there not very hidden.) and all I can see is the dull, grey water. Here I go, I took one look at the camera then I set off.
WOW! I was starting my first ever migration because it’s getting nearer and nearer to winter here at Rutland. As I flew over, it started to get dark and I thought to myself it is going to be a starry night I better be quick to get to France, Paris.
Suddenly above me I could see other ospreys and they were all around me. Now I have just spotted in the distance the Eiffel tower and it was AMAZING! Just at that moment, I spotted a lake full of yummy fish. After a while I went down rested and then ate yummy fish.
The next day I started to travel to Spain and I spotted a church on the coast of Spain and I stopped on the cross of a famous church.
After my little nap I travelled to AFRICA! I will make it to Africa. I will see all the other ospreys and it will be very warm. Just at that very moment there was a huge canal that was full of my favourite fish. In the distance I could see all of the other Ospreys and I had finally made it to Africa, Senegal. I met all my friends and some of my family it was a huge change in my life but then I kept thinking of the nest and everything at Rutland. Then when it gets back to spring at Rutland I will travel back home with everyone else.
Thank you to Alicia, Melissa and all the children from Edith Weston for their excellent stories and poems. A huge thank you as well to to everyone who took part in the Skype link and particularly to Xarles Cepeda at the Urdaibai Bird Centre for organising it. How amazing to link people in three different continents!
Although World Osprey Week is still five months away, you can sign your school up now for free access to 38 lesson plans for both primary and secondary schools. The lesson plans are cross-curricular and will provide a new and exciting learning experience for your pupils. To sign-up, click here. Registering for WOW also gives you the chance to contact other schools who have signed up for the project, to create your own page on the website and to be added to our interactive WOW map.
By Tim on October 8, 2014
As you will know if you have visited Rutland Water, volunteers are essential to the reserve. Whether it is managing habitats, greeting visitors, recording wildlife or monitoring Ospreys, we simply couldn’t do what we do without them; each year over 350 volunteers dedicate an amazing 35,000 hours to the reserve.
In recent years it has become increasingly obvious that we need better facilities to support the incredible work of our volunteers. With that in mind work has now started on a Volunteer Training Centre. The centre, which is being built just to the north of Lagoon 4, will provide much-needed new facilities, including training and learning areas, bunk rooms for residential courses, meeting spaces, a kitchen and a mess room, workshop with storage for tools and equipment, wash-rooms and drying facilities. To find out more about this exciting new building, click here.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded us £632,655 towards the Volunteer Training Centre and we have also received valuable funding from Anglian Water and various charitable trusts, but we must urgently find £170,000 to complete the build. With this in mind, we are launching the Wild Lives at Rutland Water appeal.
The Wild Lives appeal gets off the ground this weekend with a special challenge. A team of Rutland Water volunteers, staff and supporters are attempting to match the amazing 3000 mile migration of an Osprey from Rutland to West Africa. If you followed the journey of Osprey 30(05) from Rutland Water to the Senegalese coast this September, you’ll know that the flight took her 11 days to complete. However on Saturday the 3000 miles challenge team (as we’re calling them) are attempting to travel as far as possible in just one day. So far more than 80 people have signed-up to run, walk, cycle and kayak a total of almost 1500 miles around Rutland Water – that’s the equivalent of Rutland to Casablanca as the Osprey flies! The event is open for absolutely any one to join and it doesn’t matter how far you pledge to travel; in this case every single mile counts. So if you would like to join us and help us travel the equivalent of even further across Africa, you can sign-up here.
If you can’t join us on the day, then we’d be very grateful if you would consider sponsoring the team. You can do so via our Virgin Money Giving page.
We are very grateful to Anglian Water for providing free kayaks and canoes for the challenge and to Rutland Cycling for offering 20% off bike hire for anyone who’s participating. The team will be setting-off from Whitwell at 10am on Saturday morning – fingers crossed for some good ‘migrating’ weather!
By Tim on September 25, 2014
It has been another great season for the project and this year we celebrated in style at our inaugural Osprey Ball. The ball, which was held at the superb Barnsdale Lodge Hotel, was an opportunity for project supporters, volunteers and staff to reflect on an excellent summer and to raise valuable funds for the project.
We were particularly delighted to welcome IEPUK to the ball. IEPUK – who are based in Uppingham – are a not-for-profit education and training organisation who have been working around the world for over 20 years. Their core business is to create opportunities for young people to gain skills and experience within the land-based sector. This fits in very well with the Rutland Osprey Project’s work in West Africa and we were delighted to receive a donation of £808 at the ball from IEPUK Director, George Peach. This valuable donation will help us to develop our work with schools in The Gambia and enable students to participate in a survey of wintering Ospreys that we’re organising in conjunction with the Gambian Department for Parks and Wildlife Management this winter. This is the first time that such a survey has ever been undertaken in The Gambia and it will provide valuable experience for the students in the company of professional bird guides and ornithologists, including author of the Birds of the Gambia, Clive Barlow and Osprey Flyways Project Co-ordinator, Junkung Jadama. Click on the video below to find out more about our work in The Gambia.
In addition to the generous donation from IEPUK, ticket sales and a raffle on the night generated a further £750. It was a wonderful evening and one that we will definitely repeat next year. Watch this space!
We are extremely grateful to everyone who donated prizes for the raffle, namely Oakham Wines, In Focus, the Horse & Jockey, Paul Stammers, Trish Ruddle, Dr Rob Lambert, Barnsdale Lodge, Eyebrook Wild Bird Foods and Mike Simmons. Thanks also to Corporate Architecture for sponsoring a table.
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