Ospreys at the Birdfair

This weekend Rutland Water plays host to the biggest birdwatching and wildlife event on the globe. 22,000 people will descent on England’s smallest county to attend the 25th Birdfair. If you’re one of them then there are lots of ways you can enjoy the Rutland Ospreys at the same time.

As in previous years the Osprey project will feature prominently on the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust stand at OD2 (beside Marquee 6). We’ll have a big screen playing highlights from the Manton Bay nest camera and staff and volunteers will be on hand to chat from 9am until 5pm every day. You’ll also be able to hear about our latest fund-raising challenge; a 200 mile bike ride to Dover! In addition, signed copies of our highly-acclaimed new book, The Rutland Water Ospreys, will be available at the stand for the special Birdfair price of just £17. The book was BBC Wildlife’s book of the month in June and has received numerous excellent reviews, including this one on www.birdguides.com.

Front cover

If you would like to hear about all the latest news from the project, including exciting satellite tracking developments and our schools work in West Africa, then come along to my lecture in Lecture Marquee 2 at 2:40pm on Saturday afternoon. Afterwards myself, Tim Appleton and Helen McIntyre will be on hand to sign copies of the book.

On Sunday, myself and internationally-renowned Osprey expert, Roy Dennis, will be hosting a special event in the Events Marquee. We’re calling it a Celebration of Ospreys and it will be exactly that: a celebration of these fantastic birds. Roy and I will explain how the UK Osprey population has expanded from 50 to almost 300 breeding pairs since the first Birdfair was held in 1989. We’ll also talk about how we’ve got to know certain Ospreys as individuals and how satellite tracking has enhanced our understanding of the incredible migratory journeys of the birds. It’s a journey that captures the imagination of people all over the world and one that we’ll be we’ll be celebrating with music. We’ll be joined by Scottish singer and broadcaster Fiona Kennedy and rising star Ruriarh MacDonald who’ll be performing their single, Fly Lady, Fly – a new song inspired by the Osprey story. World music choir Global Harmony will also perform two songs from our recent Musical Migration Concert. Here’s a clip of them in action at the concert.

Both events are totally free once you’ve bought your admission ticket. What’s more, on Sunday Wildlife Trust and RSPB members get a special discount on the admission price, so if you buy your ticket online it costs just £10. A real bargain!

Join Roy Dennis and Tim Mackrill for A Celebration of Ospreys in the Events Marquee at 3pm on Sunday

Join Roy Dennis and Tim Mackrill for A Celebration of Ospreys in the Events Marquee at 3pm on Sunday

If all that isn’t enough, then your Birdfair ticket also entitles you to free access to the Lyndon reserve where you can enjoy some of the best views of breeding Ospreys anywhere in the UK. Osprey project volunteers will be on hand in Waderscrape and Shallow Water hides until 8pm on each day of the fair and the Lyndon Visitor Centre will be opening until 6pm – an hour later than usual. For more information about visiting Lyndon, click here.

We look forward to seeing you at what should be a brilliant weekend!