The Osprey Road Show Hits Uppingham!

The latest stop in the hectic schedule of the Osprey Project Summer Roadshow took place this afternoon, when Information Officer Michelle, assisted by Volunteer Ken, took the short flight from Lyndon over to Uppingham Community College to meet a very smart group of young naturalists and their enthusiastic teacher Karen Grunwald. Ken takes up the story…..

We’ve only got an hour to get our message over, but it’s pretty clear from the first moment that we’re dealing with a pretty ‘switched-on and tuned-in’ group of young people here :

* Yes, they all know what an Osprey is ~ excellent descriptions are given to us, which include words like ‘fish-eating’ and ‘migratory’.
* Yes, they’ve nearly all seen one in real life, most around Rutland, but one in Scotland around the ruins of an old castle. One boy who lives near the reservoir has even seen one from his bedroom window! Now who can beat that?
* Yes, they all know they are RARE, and can only be seen in a very few places in England.
* A few of the older ones (aged 14) are really into the natural world. Their teacher introduces them one by one.

This is a brilliant start. To see local youngsters like these showing such interest and knowledge is very encouraging for all of us involved in the Project. We need them, the Ospreys need them, to help us educate the rest of the population. They are the perfect ambassadors. So thank you, Uppingham CC, for allowing us to come and see you today.

Michelle starts the presentation, including video sequences, which as always are a hit. We deal with past decline, present recovery, and hopes for the future. We tell stories of famous individual Rutland Ospreys and great migrations across the Sahara and into West Africa. We talk about translocations, ringing, colour-coding, satellite tracking and recording. We look at Osprey nests in trees and on platforms. We look at Osprey beaks and feet, and get to use that super word zygodactylic ~ having two forward-facing toes and two back! Questions come every few seconds. Very good ones too. In fact there are so many questions that Karen has to call a halt so that we can finish the presentation on time!

At the end there are video sequences showing the Manton Bay chicks in the nest, and 5R(04) bringing in that monster bream last week! Then it’s photo time :

They all look pretty happy, don’t they? We get a vote of thanks and a round of applause! Perfect timing, as the bell rings and it’s time to go. A couple stay behind to chat. The boy who has seen Ospreys from his bedroom window tells me more ~ he is quite an expert already.

And finally ~ and most memorably ~ a girl approaches Michelle and says ‘How do I go about getting a job like yours?’ ‘Well’, says Michelle, ‘the first step is to come and see us at Lyndon, and we’ll take it from there.’