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Salmon farm near 30's roost on 29th

30(05) is back!

Today has been an exciting day as we are pleased to say 30(05) is finally back in Rutland! When Kayleigh last reported on 30’s location, she was making slow progress through France, only travelling 17 miles on the 27th when she spent time at a French chateau. Looking at her most recent data, we can see she continued to progress slowly and once again on the 29th she only traveled 16 miles – this time spending most of her day nearby a local salmon farm, continuing to display a knack for picking great resting stops!

She's back!

She’s back!

Salmon farm near 30's roost on 29th

Salmon farm near 30’s roost on 29th

By this time the weather had improved, so we do wonder why she wasn’t making quicker progress, however we were saved from any worrying when we checked her position this morning, as the most recent data showed she arrived in Rutland yesterday evening, after crossing the channel near Dover. Phew! Some great news to start the day.

Meanwhile at Manton bay, Maya has been spending an increasing amount of time huddled down on the nest – could an egg be on the way? We will be keeping our eyes peeled over the weekend and hope to bring you some good news soon.

Just after 6pm yesterday, 33 bought in a huge fish that seems to have kept both birds going today – at the time of writing we haven’t seen any further fish bought to the nest.

The ospreys have continued to add to their nest, which means we’ve seen more comical moments from 33 – he really got himself in a pickle this afternoon with a very large stick, before thankfully eventually freeing himself.

There’s also been plenty of nest scraping going on.

Finally, we also had an intruder on the nest this afternoon – unfortunately the intruding bird was too far away to spot, but could it have been 30(05) coming to check out the nest on her return to Rutland? Possibly!

The return of 03(97) to Site B was always a highlight each spring

A farewell blog

It is almost twenty years since I saw my first Osprey at Rutland Water. It was early August 1997, the school holidays, and my first shift as a volunteer for the Rutland Osprey Project. We were tasked with monitoring eight juvenile Ospreys that had just been released onto the nature reserve. For a 15 year-old aspiring conservationist it was exciting and nerve-wracking in equal measure. I was hooked from that moment onwards.

Almost two decades later, today is my last day as a member of staff for the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust at Rutland Water. During that time I have gone from volunteer to Senior Reserve Officer and, for the past twelve years, manged the Rutland Osprey Project. I’ve also completed a PhD on Osprey migration. It has been a thrill and a privilege to be involved in such an exciting project.

It is almost impossible to pick a highlight from the past twenty years because there have been so many. In the early years the return of the first translocated Ospreys in 1999 was incredibly exciting and only surpassed by events in 2001 when 03(97) bred for the first time at Site B, rearing the first Osprey chick in central England for more than 150 years. 2004 saw the return of the first wild-fledged Rutland Ospreys to the area and, then, in 2007, one of them – 5N(04) – bred successfully for the first time. This was of further significance because the nest was in Manton Bay – the first nesting attempt on the nature reserve itself. That summer more than 30,000 people came to see 5N and her mate, 08(97), rear two chicks. Since then the Lyndon Visitor Centre has become the base for the project – and been visited by a quarter of a million Osprey watchers. In 2011 we satellite tagged two male birds, 09(98) and AW(06) for the first time, and that winter myself and a group of staff and volunteers visited Gambia and Senegal for the first time. Our satellite tracking research and annual visits to West Africa have enabled us to develop a new and exciting side to the project, helping us to link schools along the Osprey’s migratory flyways and engaging Gambian kids with nature. For me the Osprey serves as a powerful reminder that the conservation of migratory birds depends on partnerships and collaborations between nations.

The return of 03(97) to Site B was always a highlight each spring

The return of 03(97) to Site B was always a highlight each spring

Another immensely rewarding and enjoyable aspect of my time at Rutland Water has been working with such a committed group of staff and volunteers. The Osprey Project alone is supported by a team of 150 people who dedicate a huge amount of time every summer to monitoring the birds and sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge with visitors to the reserve. Over the years an entrepreneurial spirit has developed at Rutland Water that I hope is reflected in the successes of the Osprey Project during my tenure. Of course not everything we have tried has worked, but I think that we as a team – staff and volunteers – have demonstrated what you can achieve when you take a positive, pro-active approach to conservation. I hope that this ethos continues to underpin the work at Rutland Water Nature Reserve for many years to come. I know for a fact that the Osprey Project is in safe hands with the current team in place.

A group of staff and volunteers with the Osprey club from Tanji Lower Basic School in The Gambia

Myself and a group of staff and volunteers with the Osprey club from Tanji Lower Basic School in The Gambia

So what now? I’m pleased to say that I will be continuing my work with Ospreys with Roy Dennis and his foundation. Over the years Roy has had a real influence on my career and I am very much looking forward to the work we have planned. Keep an eye on Roy’s website later in April for more news on that. I am also in the process of setting up a new charity, the Osprey Leadership Foundation, the key aim of which will be to help young people get into conservation. This will build on some of the work we have been doing through the Osprey Project both in The Gambia and the UK.

Thank you to everyone who has followed and supported the Rutland Osprey Project over the past two decades. Little did I imagine as a 15 year-old schoolboy how that first shift as a volunteer at Rutland Water would shape the next twenty years of my life. Although today is my last day as a member of staff for LRWT, I will be continuing to work closely with the Rutland Osprey Project in my new role – and I very much look forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

Tim Mackrill

32(11) perched in mangroves at the Sine-Saloum delta - finding a Rutland Osprey in West Africa was a real highlight of the past twenty years

32(11) perched in mangroves at the Sine-Saloum delta in Senegal – finding a Rutland Osprey in West Africa was a real highlight of the past twenty years


WOW – Day 5! Reaching Out From Rutland

WOW – Day 5! Reaching Out From Rutland

Just after osprey 30 arrived back in Rutland following her 3500 mile migration something else was in the air in Rutland! On his Rutland Radio morning show, Rob Persani broadcast a report about yesterday’s international skype. This featured the English Martyrs School Osprey Ambassadors, Rachel, Finn, and Georgia and our skype link with schools in Italy, Spain and The Gambia!

Rachel, Finn, and Georgia were in action again with the Education Team for a full school assembly at English Martyrs School this morning when they gave their fellow pupils the latest news about the Rutland Ospreys.


Osprey Ambassadors Finn, Rachel and Georgia with Education Officer Jackie


Ken introducing the Ambassadors

Ken introducing the Ambassadors


We have also just had our first “Ospreys and Us” entry for our movie competition, so let’s have lots more osprey inspired movies in the coming weeks.

During World Osprey Week  the Education Team have now done presentations and activities with over 1100 school pupils  in 6 days… in (at least) four countries… and two continents ………W—O—W !


Schools – want to know more about WOW!

Be part of the WOW experience look at these sections of the Rutland Ospreys website



Information here  on the drop down menu about Osprey Ambassadors, Education Team visits to your school, school visits to Lyndon to see the ospreys, and this years ”Ospreys and us” 2017 movie competition.


World Osprey Week

Free educational resources for primary and secondary schools, including lesson plans & schemes of work, project ideas, worksheets with teacher’s notes and answers, games and fun activities– just register your school at


Thank you to Education Officer Pete Murray for writing this blog post and providing photos

WOW – Day Four!

WOW – Day 4 Oakham, Spain, Italy and The Gambia

World Osprey Week an international flavour today.

We began with a whole school assembly at Brooke Priory School in Oakham, Rutland, just a couple of miles from the ospreys at Rutland Water. Last year this school hosted the Osprey Festival celebrating 20 years of the project. Their osprey songs are on our website – click here!

The Osprey Ambassadors are Gabby, Scarlet, Ben and Eddie. They gave their own presentation to the rest of the school, telling them the latest osprey migration news and explained what World Osprey Week is all about. W—O—W they all shouted!


This afternoon was the 2017 International WOW Skype at English Martyrs School in Oakham. Osprey Ambassadors Rachel Finn and Georgia were joined by pupils for their Skypes  to Monterre School in Spain, Grosseto School in Italy, and Tanji School in The Gambia. Schools gave a short presentation and had a chance to ask each other some questions about their WOW activities. These and many other schools in the UK and other countries around the world use our school activity resources and link up with each other via the contacts list on the website. Tim Mackrill ran the Skype ably assisted by Holly.


Finally Ken and Jackie returned to Oakham C of E School to give a presentation to the older Key Stage 2 pupils assisted by their school Osprey Ambassadors Charlotte, Phoebe, Daniel, George and Arlen.

In this month’s Wildlife Watch Magazine, the Wildlife Trust publication for younger family members, Jackie has written a two page article about ospreys timed perfectly for their arrival following the spring migration.


Schools – more about WOW!

Be part of the WOW experience! Click on the drop down menus in these sections of the Rutland Ospreys website.



Information about Osprey Ambassadors, Education team visits to your school, school visits to Lyndon to see the ospreys, this years ”Ospreys and us” 2017 movie competition and more…click here!

World Osprey Week

Join in WOW in the coming week and follow the migration of the Ospreys!

Free educational resources, including lesson plans & schemes of work, worksheets with teacher’s notes, games and fun activities for primary and secondary schools – just register your school by clicking here!


Don’t forget you can follow the progress of 30(05) on her migration north, plus the migrations of five other ospreys from Finland and America. Click here for the interactive map!





Wherever I lay my sticks…

30(05) has been moving very slowly through France over the past few days, due to unfavourable weather conditions. On 27th March she only flew 17 miles. Yesterday, though, she managed 151 miles in a more north-easterly direction. The weather in France was slightly better yesterday, and it looks to improve further over the next few days, with the wind direction becoming more south-westerly. 30 could easily have crossed the channel today! We will hopefully find out soon!

5am 29th

In Manton Bay, early this morning we captured a video of what the ospreys get up to on the nest in the dark…

They have been doing this a lot, which is excellent news and Maya could very well produce egg number one within the next two or three days!

Also whilst the camera was recording in infra-red, we captured this great footage of 33 flying into the nest, where Maya was sitting. Just look at that glow from his eyes as he flies in!

Here’s a video of him flying into the nest in the daylight! You can see him coming low over the water before lifting up to land on the nest.

This time, 33 brought nothing with him to the nest, but he has been busy today bringing sticks and clumps of nest material, as we would expect!

Some of them were a bit awkward – he came in with this one and dropped it onto Maya’s back again!

33 big stick

Maya did her best to place 33’s gifts in suitable locations.

At about 16:10, 33 eventually stopped stick collecting and went off to catch a fish. We saw him fly past the Lyndon Centre on his way back to the nest with it! Instead of eating the head first, 33 delivered this fish, a perch, straight to Maya, who hopped off the T-perch onto the nest to graciously take it from him.

Fish - perch