Schools Blog

“Inspired by Ospreys” – Competition 2018

This year we have an exciting competition for youngsters called “Inspired by Ospreys”.

 We want  children and young people to be “Inspired by Ospreys” and give us their best creative work in any of these categories.

  1. A drawing or painting (A4)

This can be any medium, paint, pen and ink, pastel etc. (Note; NOT a digitally produced image)

  1. A poem

An osprey poem using any type of verse.

It can be hand written or word processed no longer than one side A4.

  1. A short story

A short story which is based on ospreys in some way.

It must be no longer than 600 words. It can be hand written or word processed.


It would make a great school project so a whole class can take part, and you send us the best in each category! Time is short as entries must be received by Saturday 26th May 2018.


There are two competition age groups; 11 years and under and 12 years and over.

We will award first, second and third places (plus commended) in each category and each age group.


Sending your competition entries.

Entries can be sent in by individuals or sent together from a school.

We suggest that schools hold a competition of their own so that entries can be judged and perhaps the best 3 in each category are sent to us.


  1. Work can be posted to us, delivered by hand or sent by e-mail;

Postal entries; Jackie Murray, Rutland Ospreys Education Officer, Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre, Egleton, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 8BT

E-mail entries; For pictures, attach a good quality photograph to an e-mail with the entrants details.

 Poems and stories can be attached to an email.

  1. Each individuals piece of work should have these details;

Posted entries; on the back      E-mailed entries; e-mailed with the attached entry.     

      • Pupil name and age
      • Category
      • School entries ; Name and school address with name of a contact teacher
      • Contact details ; Telephone number /e-mail address


  1. Judging of the work will be Monday 4th June. Schools will all be notified of the results.


Winning Entries will be put on public display in Oakham Library

Osprey diving for a fish

A Busy Thursday : Visitors from Ketton and Glaslyn

It was ‘all hands on deck’ at the Lyndon Reserve one day last week, as we welcomed two very important groups of visitors – one from nearby Ketton Primary School, and the other from Glaslyn Ospreys in North Wales.

It is always an exciting time when the first group of eager young people come to see the Ospreys, and this year 28  highly motivated Year 5 students from nearby Ketton, together with their equally enthusiastic teachers, arrived bright and early, hurrying into their seats in front of the big screen in the Visitor Centre, ready to start their day. Our first job was to introduce them to all the people who would be h

Young Osprey Spotters from Ketton Primary.

elping them to enjoy their experience here – not only the usual Osprey Education Team (Pete, Jackie and Ken) and the Lyndon Team (Anya and Paul), but also Becky (Senior Reserve Officer) and – drumroll here please – our very special guests from the Glaslyn Osprey Centre in North Wales!!

Rutland Ospreys’ links with North Wales go back a long way – right back to the early days when pioneering translocated Rutland male Osprey 11(98) decided to set up home there, and over the next few years raised more than 20 chicks with his unringed partner. So it is a pleasure to welcome Heather, Gwenan, Rebecca and Steve to Rutland today.

Manager of Glaslyn Ospreys Visitor Centre Heather in conversation with
Rutland Water Senior Reserve Officer Rebecca in Wader Scrape hide, while the
students from Ketton Primary concentrate on the Ospreys!

In common with all Rutland Osprey juveniles (132 up to 2017), all our young visitors (and a few of the ‘mature’ ones!) have to be ringed, so within a few minutes of arrival they are all sporting a unique ring on their right wrists or ankles, bearing their individual designation for the day. I see ‘XJ’, ‘6R’, ‘S6’ and many others! Then, after the issue of binoculars to all, we’re off to see Maya and 33(11) down in the Bay, Jackie setting a brisk pace at the front, and the rest of us following, together with our friends from Glaslyn and one or two members of the public who have decided that this all looks like fun!

Once in the hide, there is so much to do! First and foremost, of course, find the Ospreys and sort out ‘who is who’. Then look at all the other wildlife around – what are those big black birds in the dead tree? Is that a seagull ? No, it’s got a long forked tail – a Common Tern! Is that a little white heron? Yes it is, but it’s got a special name……cue to use the field guide. Then it’s time to complete the ‘Osprey Factfile’ in the activity books, and to look for the answers that have been posted all around the walls of the hide. Soon we have 28 nine and ten year old Osprey Experts around us, sharing newly learnt words such as Pandion Haliaetus and zygodactylic. This is conservation education in action – and just a few hundred yards away from the nest of a rare Schedule 1 breeding bird of prey.

Completing the Osprey Factfile

While we circulate and help with the activities, our visitors take it all in and watch with interest. Newly appointed Glaslyn Osprey Education Officer Rebecca is especially keen to learn as much as she can – she will soon be starting her own programmes for schools in her area.

Soon it is time to pack our things up and make our way back to the Centre for lunch, but before we leave the hide I ask everyone to be quiet and I introduce two very important people who were already in here when we arrived – our two volunteers, Maureen and Lyn, who have been monitoring the Ospreys and welcoming visitors on the 9.00am – 1.00pm shift today. Lyn explains the role and its importance to the Project, and the children listen enthralled. ‘I would love to do what you’re doing,’ says one. Well, in a few years, you can – we need people like you to take over when we are not around any more!

You could hear a pin drop! Osprey volunteer Lyn Howells explains what is
happening in the Bay to the children from Ketton Primary.

We walk back to the Centre to the sound of excited chatter and discussion among our visitors. Packed lunches are eagerly unwrapped in the picnic area. Becky will take the Glaslyn contingent over to our Volunteer Training Centre on the other side of the water for lunch, and they will meet other members of the Rutland Team, including Holly, Sarah, Mat and Lloyd. We stay on with the Ketton group, and prepare for the afternoon activities in Teal Hide, where we will construct Osprey food chains, learn about special Osprey features (including that ‘z’ word again) and end with a question and answer session : ‘How do you get the rings on their legs?’ ‘Who’s your favourite Osprey?’ ‘How does satellite tracking work?’ ……


Eventually it’s time to leave, but not before a few minutes of retail therapy in the shop, and a last look at the live pictures on the screen. Two boys have bought field-guides from our second-hand wildlife bookstall, and are already checking out birds they have seen today. Others buy Osprey note-books, Osprey key-rings, Osprey pens and pencils, Osprey fridge magnets and many other Osprey themed gifts. A day to remember.

No sooner has the bus pulled out of the car-park onto the lane up to the road than the Glaslyn team are back, suitably refreshed after lunch, and still full of enquiries about the work we do here at Lyndon – especially on the Education side. Of particular interest is the Osprey Ambassador Scheme, whereby most of our local schools appoint or elect a small number of students who are then trained to act as links between us here at the Reservoir and their school. At monthly Osprey Club meetings, we provide them with updates on memory sticks which they can then use in their own class or school assemblies. Hopefully there will soon be Welsh Osprey Ambassadors too!

Finally, Heather presents a copy of Emyr Evans’ lovely book ‘The Welsh Ospreys’ to the Rutland Osprey Project – signed by all members of the Glaslyn Team. A very kind gesture, appreciated by us all. We hope to see you all again very soon.

Over a welcome cup of tea, we review the day. A great school visit to Lyndon – the first of many in the weeks ahead. And a super opportunity to meet colleagues from one of the other highly successful Osprey centres in the UK – we look forward to forging closer links with other centres doing fantastic work both here in the UK and further afield in  Europe and Africa. We owe it to young people like the ones we have met today to leave flourishing wildlife populations (including Ospreys) throughout the world for them to enjoy, and we will achieve that by co-operation and friendship at all levels, irrespective of geographical and political boundaries which may be in the way. The Osprey is a ‘citizen of the world’ – and so are we.

Easter Ospreys- Ambassadors Osprey Club on Easter Sunday

14 Ambassadors attended Ambassadors Osprey Club on a cold often drizzly afternoon, along with family and friends.

All were sustained in the cold hide by  Liz’s excellent Easter cupcakes, and chocolate Easter bunnies , a reward from Ken for completing the osprey quiz!

Sam recorded 31 different bird species including excellent views of a Barn Owl , hunting over the meadows, as well as the Manton Bay ospreys!

Also seen for some time were two water voles and two muntjac deer, right in front of Waderscape hide.

Looking at the Barn Owl behind the osprey nest!

Jackie talks to Osprey Ambassadors about the presentations they have made at their school.


How many times can you find the word “egg” in this report about our young Osprey Ambassadors event ?


It is Easter Sunday and we are all very eggcited as it our first Osprey Club for 2018!

We met at Lyndon and from the eggsit of the centre to the hide we had to find pictures of ospreys pegged to the fence posts along the track.

We had to write down the legg ring number for each osprey picture to win an Easter egg prize.

At Waderscrape hide, Maya and Osprey 33 were on the nest with two eggs in their nest and a third egg expected today… this is really eggciting news! We spent some time watching the ospreys and saw about 30 species other birds. No I am not eggsaggerating …. Sam made a list!

We had lovely views a barn owl  over the meadows,and many different  waterfowl, but no eggrets today.

As well as meeting the other Osprey Ambassadors we were given the latest presentation to show in our school with a script and some eggstra information about this year’s “Inspired by Ospreys” competition.

Soon it was four o’clock and we had to go, even though I begged to stay for a bit longer to watch the ospreys!

Still, I can always see what is happening at home using the Rutland Ospreys live web cam.


  • How many “egg” words can you find?
  • Can you list the “egg” words which have spelling mistakes, with  their correct spelling? Try to get it eggsactly…I mean exactly…right!


Casterton Primary School have made a special ”Osprey Ambassador” school badge


Answer = 12  Easter  “egg” words

Incorrect ones  with corrections
Eggcited                 Excited
Eggsit                      Exit   
Legg                         Leg
Eggciting                Exciting
Eggrets                   Egrets
Eggsaggerating   Exaggerating
Eggstra                   Extra



Sunday March 18th- Osprey Ambassadors ‘Warm-Up’

The latest news from our Education Team- Ken, Jackie and Pete 
Balloons blowing about in sub-zero temperatures outside our Volunteers Training Centre  may seem a little out of place on this freezing Sunday here in Rutland, but it can only mean one thing – the 2018 Osprey Ambassadors Warm-Up is about to start!
And ‘Warm-Up’ is an appropriate term today! Down in the Bay, a biting east wind is whipping the water up into angry white-crested waves reminiscent of the North Sea, and Maya and 33 are spending most of their time hunkered down in the nest, with just the occasional foray during a lull to try and secure a fish. The Osprey Ambassadors, aged between eight and sixteen, and representing fifteen local schools, are arriving with parents, grandparents and other family members, keen and enthusiastic as ever, and looking forward to receiving everything they will need in order to fulfill their vital role in keeping classmates and teachers fully informed of the Ospreys’ progress between now and their departure in September.
After the briefest of introductions, we are straight into the new season, demonstrating the content of the memory sticks which the ambassadors will be using in their schools. We also issue a script, but frankly some of the ambassadors are skilled and experienced in Osprey work now, and they will make their own commentary to accompany the photographs of Maya and 33. The memory stick is updated each month at our regular Osprey Club meetings – held on the first Sunday of each month down in Wader Scrape hide in Manton Bay. And the first Osprey Club is in just two weeks’ time, on April 1st, Easter Sunday! Will there be an Osprey egg in the nest by then? Well, judging by the enthusiasm of our two Ospreys at the moment, it’s quite possible! And of course, as it’s Easter, we will be organising some sort of Osprey-related fun activity for our ambassadors….and Mums and Dads too!
After collecting membership cards, newsletters, memory sticks and everything else from the table, it’s time for cake and drinks in the kitchen next door! Our own resident Mary Berry (aka our friend Liz) has once again excelled herself and after just a few minutes the table is literally bare! Carrot cake, krispy cakes, cup cakes, chocolate cookies – where did they all go? Thank you Liz – brilliant!
Finally it’s up the gallery overlooking Lagoon 4, where the binoculars and telescopes are soon all being skillfully used to spot and identify as many species as possible in the snowy and  desolate scene before us. There are no Ospreys visible from here (although there is another nest platform awaiting an adventurous pair sometime soon we hope!), but these young birders are finding some good birds. Sam is compiling an impressive list, headed by the showy and spectacular drake Smew he has found, sheltering with its more sober red-headed female by the shore. A Pochard is another good find. The whole room is buzzing with the thrill of discovering and identifying all the birds – or are they all having a sugar-rush after all that cake?
All too soon it’s nearly 4.00 and time to go – but what a terrific afternoon it has been! We are always re-assured by these afternoons – the spirit, excitement, energy and enthusiasm of the young ambassadors, the huge support of the parents and families, the shared concern among us all that the Ospreys – and all the other creatures  –  should thrive here and everywhere else…….
It may be freezing outside, but here today there has been a warm, rosy glow! It’s going to be a good Osprey season! We’ll see you all very soon in your schools and at the next Osprey Club!

WOW 2018 – Day 5

Just a mile or so up the south shore of Rutland Water lies the village of Edith Weston, and at its heart is one of our very best Osprey schools. In fact we call it ‘Osprey School No. 1’, because it has always been our ‘go to’ school when we want to try something new! The first ever Skype links with our friends in Gambia were made here, the Ozzie stories were all read aloud here before going into print, and the first Osprey Ambassadors came from here. All the children who featured in ‘Be an Osprey Expert’ were pupils at Edith Weston at the time. We believe – and will continue to do so until someone proves us wrong – that Edith Weston is the only school in England, maybe the UK, maybe even the World ( well maybe not the World!), where the children can simply walk out of school in spring and summer and be watching Ospreys within a matter of minutes! No cars needed, no buses, no cycles even – just five minutes walk to the shore. And that is pretty special, don’t you think?
Today, on the last school day of WOW, we arrive bright and early as the children are arriving too. They know us all by name, and shout out their greetings. There are always new children too, who we haven’t met before, and they come from all over the UK and beyond – we will need to bring them up to speed too. And a surprise for us today! As we are setting up in the hall, mothers, dads, and tiny babies pass through on their way to a ‘Mums, Dads and Babies’ swimming event in the indoor pool next door! And guess what? One of the mums is none other than Louise Mackrill and son Harry (of Tim Mackrill fame), and another is our Anglian Water education colleague Joelle with baby Ivy! Amazing Osprey people everywhere!
We launch into our presentation, with pictures and video clips, latest news from the Bay and from Mauretania (where tracking data tells us 30(05) was –  but now she’s in in Western Sahara!), with frequent stops to answer questions, tell stories, shout WOW! every few minutes, and generally celebrate the return of the famous Manton Bay pair! Along the way we make sure everyone understands the processes of breeding, ringing, tracking, migration and everything else the team works on during the season. And of course we have to end with the rousing Osprey Song which some of them have heard so often they know it off by heart!
There’s just time to meet our new Osprey Ambassadors for 2018, equip them with their instructions for Sunday’s ‘Ambassadors Warm-Up’ meeting, and finally we’re all ospreyed out and leave for a well-earned coffee just down the road at the Lyndon Reserve. The sun is shining, Maya and 33 are looking brilliant, visitors are piling through to see them. During the week we have met a total of 845 children and their teachers in their fantastic schools. We are, as always, so grateful to them for allowing us to come in and tell everyone the enthralling stories of the fabulous Rutland Ospreys. And we’ll carry on doing just that for the rest of the season!