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By Tim on April 16, 2016
Yesterday was the final day of World Osprey Week and the project’s education team rounded off a very successful five days by visiting Wittering County Primary School, near Stamford. The Osprey is a brilliant species to incorporate into science lessons, and while at the school the team taught the children about osprey adaptations and food chains. Both topics are included in lesson plans that WOW schools can download for free. There is a sneak preview below, but to view the full list of teaching resources for both primary and secondary schools and to register for WOW, click here.
The children at Wittering were very enthusiastic, and clearly remembered a great deal from a previous visit by the team. They’ll soon be choosing their Osprey Ambassadors and are also planning on submitting poems, stories, and science work for the Osprey Festival be held in Oakham later this term.
This week the project’s education team – Ken Davies, Jackie Murray and Pete Murray – has led sessions with over 550 school children. This included presentations and assemblies in local schools as well as Skype calls which linked three continents. Its been a fantastic week and simply would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and dedication of Ken, Jackie and Pete – a huge thank you to them all.
Although WOW has now finished, schools can continue to sign-up. Doing so gives you access to the teaching resources and also the opportunity to contact other schools all round the world who are also studying Ospreys. If the Skype calls that we organised this week are anything to go by, establishing links with other schools in this way is a really exciting way for children to learn. So don’t delay, sign-up now!
By Tim on April 14, 2016
We start tonight’s World Osprey Week blog with news from Wales. Earlier today three-year-old female, 3J – who fledged from the Manton Bay nest in 2013 and first returned to Rutland last summer – visited the Glaslyn nest in North Wales. We know that young Ospreys often wander widely in search of a nest and mate, so it will be interesting to see whether 3J settles in Wales, or returns to Rutland. For now it is just great to know she has made it back to the UK safely.
Having linked up three countries by Skype yesterday, today we made World Osprey Week truly international with a Skype that linked three continents. Over the past few weeks the project’s education team have been working closely with staff and pupils from Great Casterton Primary School and today children from the school gave a superb presentation to pupils from Istituto Comprensivo Grosseto 1 in Italy, Montorre and Urretxindorra schools in the Basque Country in northern Spain and Tanji Lower Basic School in The Gambia. They then had the opportunity to talk to Osprey expert Iain MacLeod from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in New Hampshire, USA. Special mention must go to the schools Osprey Ambassadors, Louie and Sam who read brilliantly on camera and also to the pupils in Italy who sang the Osprey song written by Hurst Lodge school last year.
As the photo shows, the children at Great Casterton showed off some their fabulous Osprey artwork, and have said that they will enter it into the art category in our Osprey festival in July. You can read more about that here. Earlier in the day the team also received a very warm welcome at English Martyr’s school in Oakham where they gave an assembly to the whole school.
Art was a theme that ran through most of today’s WOW presentations, and that isn’t surprising – through their incredible migrations and fishing prowess Ospreys have inspired artists for many generations. We’re very fortunate to have a very talented artist, John Wright, on the project team and he has recently completed the artwork for a new book that we will soon be publishing thanks to a kind grant from the Martin Lawrence Memorial Trust. Ozzie’s Return written by Ken Davies is the follow-up to Ozzie’s Migration and, as the name implies, tells the story of the young Osprey’s flight home to Rutland Water. Here’s a sneak preview of just some of John’s fantastic work, which will also be available as limited edition prints later in the summer.
We hope to launch Ozzie’s Return during the Osprey festival in July and it will be on sale at the Visitor Centres at Rutland Water and in other outlets in the Rutland area, as well as via the website. Watch out too, for a second book for older children that we’ll be publishing later in the year. Ozzie Leads the Way has also been written by Ken Davies, with illustrations by Fiona Gomez.
By Tim on April 13, 2016
Its been a beautiful spring day in Rutland today and the Manton Bay nest has been bathed in glorious sunshine for much of it. As we always hope during incubation, little of note happened at the nest for much of the day; the one exception being when 33 brought a large stick to the nest. Look how close he came to treading on the eggs…
Today is the third day of World Osprey Week This afternoon myself and the project’s education team visited Catmose College in Oakham where we linked up with students from Istituto Comprensivo 5 school in Grosseto, Italy and Tanji Lower Basic School in The Gambia via Skype. Despite one or two technical problems, it was exciting for the students to chat to each other, with Ospreys as the link. Each school gave a presentation and then asked each other questions.
One of the key aims of WOW is to link schools around the world through a shared study of Ospreys and if your school would like to get involved, you can sign-up here. Once registered you can create your own school page and be included on our interactive WOW map, which also shows the location of migrating Ospreys. Each school page has the contact details of a teacher (which is only visible to other registered schools), allowing you to get in touch with each other – through email or, as we did today, via Skype. This is helping to create a community of like-minded schools who, we hope, will go on to enjoy long-term links. All as a result of Osprey migration!
You might also like to check out the competition for schools that we’re running as part of the Osprey Festival we’re organising in June.
By Tim on April 12, 2016
Watching an Osprey diving to catch a fish has to be one of the most awe-inspiring wildlife spectacles, and there is no better place to do it at the moment than Horn Mill Trout Farm, where the specially-designed hide is offering wonderful opportunities for photographers. We reported yesterday that 33 is one of several birds that have been making regular trips, and Geoff Harries has kindly sent us these stunning photos of this master fisherman in action. You can even see the Osprey’s third eye lid in one of the photos. This helps protect the bird’s eyes when they hit the water during a dive.
Ospreys are supremely well-adapted predators and as part of the teaching resources that are free to download for all schools who have registered for World Osprey Week, we have an adaptations worksheet that could form the basis of an exciting science or biology lesson. Just how are the Ospreys able to hold on to those slippery fish? There’s a sneak preview below, but to see a full list of the resources available for both primary and secondary schools, click here.
Of course not all Ospreys have made it back to their nest sites yet. Pertti Saurola has kindly sent the latest update on the three Finnish birds that we are tracking. If you check out the WOW interactive map, you’ll see that they’ve all made good progress since the last update. Of particular note, Seija made a long crossing of the Mediterranean passing over the dangerous skies of Malta where illegal killing of migratory birds is still a major problem. Fortunately Seija made it safely across and is now in Albania. Ilpo and Tero meanwhile have reached Lithuania and Iraq respectively. For a more detailed description of the amazing migrations of the three birds, click here.
Finally, the project’s education team have been busy again today. This afternoon they gave a special WOW assembly at Leighfield Academy in Uppingham.
By Tim on April 11, 2016
Today is the first day of World Osprey Week, and what better way to celebrate than with the news that Maya has now laid a third egg in the Manton Bay nest? If you were watching the webcam at around 2:20pm yesterday afternoon you might have caught a glimpse of the newly-laid egg.
Now that Maya and 33 have a full clutch of three eggs barely a minute will pass without one of the birds sitting low in the nest. Maya will do most of the incubation, with 33 taking over from time-to-time to give her a break. His other key role, of course, is to catch fish. With such a well-located nest, 33 doesn’t usually have to go far to catch a meal, but yesterday he was one of three birds that caught fish at Horn Mill Trout Farm. Photographers have been treated to some amazing views of fishing Ospreys so far this year. Be sure to check out the River Gwash Trout farm’s twitter feed for all the latest photos or to find out about how to book your place in their photographic hide.
The Manton Bay webcam provides a wonderful and very unique view of the day-to-day life at an Osprey nest and we have devised a series of lesson plans that schools can use in conjunction with the camera (or any other Osprey webcam for that matter). Osprey incubation could make a great Osprey study – how long does each bird incubate for? How often do they change over? By registering your school for World Osprey Week you can access these resources for both primary and secondary school totally free. To see the full list, click here. As a taster, here is a link to the teacher notes for ‘Watching Ospreys‘. You could even think about entering your school’s study into the Osprey Behaviour Study or Scientific Study category in our Osprey Festival in June.
As part of the preparation for WOW, our first Osprey ambassadors have recently visited Lyndon. Louie from Casterton Primary School and Max and Isaac from Catmose College (Oakham) enjoyed a trip to Waderscrape hide to see Maya and 33 on a lovely sunny day in late March. Then yesterday we were joined by Bella from The Bythams School and Jaz from CBEC College (Great Casterton). Their visit coincided with Maya laying the third egg – what brilliant timing!
The reserve’s Wild Skills group have also been getting involved in WOW. Following a presentation from Ken, Jackie and Pete the group were given the task of designing and planning the construction of a portable 3D map of the reserve showing the hides, centres and other important locations for the Osprey Project. We’re looking forward to seeing what they come up with!
If your school is getting involved in WOW we’d love to hear from you. You can send us an email by clicking here.