A week in the life of…

Last week the Rutland Water Nature Reserve staff had the pleasure of meeting Penny Smith, a work experience student who spent five days working with several of our reserve teams. Here is Penny’s account of her week at Rutland Water.


On Monday I felt a bit nervous as I’m coming somewhere I had never been before and I was meeting new people. I got introduced to some people and I had nothing to worry about as they were very friendly. My supervisor for the day was Mark. We started off by going round the centre filling up all the bird feeders. I enjoyed this because I was able to look at the different varieties of wildlife around the centre. After we had completed that, we went into the woods and cut down all the nettles preparing for the school to come the next day. After lunch I laminated some posters and stuck them on the wall in the bird hide. I then helped Mark check the moth trap but we unfortunately didn’t catch any because the bulb had broken. Will then asked me to produce a spread sheet for the stock in the shop. When I had completed that I went home. I enjoyed today because everyone was very friendly and it’s a nice environment to work in. Also, I enjoyed working outside instead of being stuck inside.


I was looking forward to today as I was working with the outdoor conservation team. As usual, I felt a bit nervous because I was meeting new people and I didn’t know how they would take to me. Amelia was my supervisor and we spent all morning feeding the cows and sheep. I enjoyed doing this because I was able to see more of the reserve and learnt all about the lagoons; how new ones have been constructed etc. After lunch we went to the Lyndon visitor centre to feed some cows. Amelia took me to the bird watching hide where I was able to watch the Ospreys for a short time. I really enjoyed this because I saw the chicks on the nest. This made me very excitable for Friday. We then finished off the day by helping Martin build a bird watching hide. I enjoyed this as I actually got stuck in with some drilling and sawing instead of just standing around. I had great fun today because the people I met were very friendly and always tried to make conversation with me, I’m looking forward to tomorrow already.


Today’s my last day with the outdoor team. Yet again, I met loads more new people who were very friendly. We spent a short while in the morning herding up cows because they were being sent off to be sold. I liked doing this as it felt like I was at home and comfortable with what I was doing because I live on a farm and used to herding cows. For the rest of the day Sarah was my supervisor and, along with 4 others, we went down to the river side and pulled up Himalayan Balsam. There was never a dull moment as the people I was with were very chatty, friendly and funny.


I was back in the Anglian water bird watching centre and Mark was my supervisor. Unfortunately I was a bit late arriving due to an accident on the road but my mum rang Will and he was absolutely fine with it. I was looking forward to today because a primary school was visiting and, surprisingly, I like working with children. As soon as they arrived, Eileen, Jess and I took a group of children pond dipping. I quite enjoyed it as I was able to see a variety of bugs and insects that lived in the pond. After that, I joined Mark to do some bug hunting. I helped the kids lift logs and if they were unable to scoop a bug into their pot I helped them. After lunch we went to the Osprey hide and I helped the kids spot some birds. When they’d gone home, I helped tidy up and worked on the computer for a bit.

On Friday it was the Osprey Project’s turn and after a brief introduction to the project Penny settled down in the office with a huge pile of monitoring sheets that I’d picked up from Site B that morning. The sheer number of pages would be daunting for anyone put Penny quickly gathered all the information about 03’s fishing habits in no time at all. After lunch Penny spent most of the afternoon in Waderscrape hide watching 5R and his family. As you can see from the video below, this is a great time to watch the Ospreys because the chicks are now frantically flapping as they try to strengthen their wings. A little bit of wind always helps…

When Penny came back to the Lyndon centre, there was just enough time to finish 03’s fishing facts. Thanks to Penny’s hard work we can tell you that during the 75 days between 11th April and 25th June, 03 was away fishing for 10 days, 12 hours and 50 minutes. These fishing trips resulted in 172 fish being brought back to the nest and just like other Rutland male Ospreys, it’s not hard to guess which is 03’s favourite!

03(97)’s fish chart – 11th April to 25th June 2013


Thank you very much Penny for all your help during the week, it was great to meet you and we all hope to see you again soon!