Schools Blog

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!

Maya Male Makes it Back!

Yesterday just as we were winding down for the day, a second osprey was spotted on the nest. This morning we were able to confirm this was 33(11). Maya’s usual partner. This is fantastic news, as it points us towards another successful breeding season for the pair. They have wasted no time at all having already started copulating this morning. 


33(11), being the perfect gentleman then treated Maya to a lovely breakfast not long after. Not only that but he also helped with the housework, bringing sticks to the nest and nest scraping. 



Let’s hope this is the beginning of another great year for the Manton Bay Ospreys! 


WOW-Day 4

Today the education team have been  as busy as ever visiting Ketton school, to teach the children all about ospreys read it here!!


WOW 2018- Day 3

Ken’s WOW Blog 

Well it’s Wednesday March 14th – Day 3 of World Osprey Week! And what a week it’s been so far! It was an early start for us today as were due at one of our flagship schools in Oakham – Brooke Priory!


Brooke Priory is probably the only school we have visited for each of the five World Osprey Weeks since we first started them in 2014. Today was a special assembly for them – we were treated to brilliant music by the school orchestra, then the school presented a cheque to a local charity which provides breakfasts for children and adults – and then it was our turn! We had prepared a brand new presentation, which as well as giving all the latest news about the Rutland Ospreys and Maya’s return, included a very important section about the dangers Ospreys (and other birds and mammals) face through waste plastics and other materials in the oceans. The students already have a group called ‘Planet Protectors’, and they were well tuned in to the message we were giving. Plastic drinking straws and other non-degradable packaging came in for particularly harsh treatment! Well done Brooke Priory! As the school orchestra played us out, there was a lot of really good discussion from the students about how we can help Ospreys and all other wildlife by taking a little care about our choices in shops!

A few minutes later and we are in the studios of Rutland Radio, and Jackie is whisked in front of the microphone where host Rob Persani quizzes her about WOW and the latest news about the returning Ospreys. Listen to Jackie this  Friday morning on 107.2 and 97.4 FM!

Time for a breather! Back at Lyndon, Maya is thrilling a small crowd gathered  in front of the screen – she looks very much at home on the nest, and is even bringing twigs in already!  Everyone hopes her mate 33(11) is not too far behind! The Centre is already a hive of activity – volunteers Andy and Anne Strang are sorting out a large donation of bird and other natural history books which we will sell during the season, with all profits going to the Osprey Project! Many thanks to Andy and Anne– and please do not hesitate to  donate any more of your unwanted natural history books to us!

After lunch we are off again – this time to Fernvale Primary School in Thurnby, near Leicester! This is a new school for us – we are anxious to spread the Osprey story more widely this year, including some more urban centres in towns and cities such as Leicester, Peterborough and Corby!

So if you are in any way connected with a school that hasn’t yet been ‘ospreyed’, please get in touch and we’ll be pleased to oblige!

Maya’s Return

Today has been an extremely exciting day for the Rutland Osprey Project! The first osprey was seen in Rutland, and to add to the excitement the first bird back was identified as Maya the Manton Bay osprey, this meant that her return was broadcast live for all to see via webcam.  This is the earliest we have ever had a bird back in Rutland, as the birds usually return around the 17th March. We are not sure what has caused this early return, but it will be very interesting to see when the other ospreys make their way back to Rutland. We are still tracking our tagged bird and hope to have an update for you tomorrow.

This was a great start to the 2018 osprey season and added to the excitement of World Osprey Week (WOW). Ken Davis, from the education team, has written a great blog detailing the events of the first day of WOW. 



World Osprey Week Day 1: Maya is back, and Catmose Primary are WOW’d.



Monday March 12th 2018 : An unbelievable, brilliant day! A visit to Catmose Primary School in Oakham on the first day of World Osprey Week was exciting anyway, but what happened afterwards as we were making for home was absolutely fantastic! ‘There’s an Osprey eating a trout on the nest in Manton Bay’ was the simple message……..Who could it be? Bit early for Maya, said someone. ‘Awaiting confirmation’ said the next post. ‘Keep your eye on the website….’

The Education Team (Jackie, Pete and Ken) had just completed whole school assembly for over 200 boys and girls (aged 5 – 11) at Catmose Primary School in Oakham, just a few kilometres from Manton Bay. This is an excellent school, and everyone was very quickly involved as we showed our pictures and described the famous Ospreys these very lucky children have right on their doorstep every summer. We explained very carefully why there were no Ospreys in the Bay right now because they were still making their way back from their wintering grounds in west Africa or Southern Spain……little did we know what was going on in the Bay! Members of the audience answered our Osprey questions and were eager to hear about every part of the great Osprey story, including nest, rings, trackers, and every single detail. You could hear a pin drop in the hall……apart from every time someone mentioned World Osprey Week, which led to a hearty shout of WOW! – which was probably heard back at the Bay! And as a special treat at the end, we played the famous Osprey Song, performed by the children of Hurst Lodge School in Ascot (find it on You-Tube). And that’s not all – Headteacher Mrs Jackson announced that four trips are to be arranged in the summer term so that every single student in Key Stage 2 (and that’s about 120!) can come over to Manton Bay and see the Ospreys for themselves. Yet more and more ‘WOW’s’ – it’s been a WOW morning, and this is a WOW school – thank you for your great welcome and enthusiasm! We three have had a great time – hope you all did too! And we’ll see you all again later in the year!

And then everything else started to happen! It must have been just as were finishing, in the later part of the morning, that those messages started coming through…..It was possible, just possible, that on the very first day of World Osprey Week 2018, an Osprey, a very special Osprey called Maya, had completed her homeward journey, and was enjoying her first Rutland trout in six months! Welcome home Maya! You couldn’t have timed it better!!

2018 World Osprey Week (WOW)

This week is World Osprey Week (WOW), the idea of a week to celebrate ospreys across the globe was started by the project back in 2014, WOW is now in its fourth year and has allowed hundreds of school children from across the globe to engage with ospreys and nature conservation. Not only does this aid in the protection of ospreys across their migration route, but it also allows children to reconnect with nature and become inspired.

During this week our education team will be visiting schools across the region to deliver talks and lessons about ospreys. The same will be happening across the osprey migration route in each school signed up to WOW, which can be seen on our interactive map

It is difficult to measure the impact delivering these talks has on conservation as a whole, sometimes its easy to forget how important nature education is for school children, and the impact it can have in their lives. Just this weekend we were visited by a boy who had been inspired by a talk delivered by the education team in his school and wished to enroll as an osprey ambassador. This will allow him to share his passion for ospreys and nature with his peers. I myself only began volunteering in nature conservation when I was visited in school by an outreach initiative from Rutland Water. This demonstrates how nature education can have a profound  effect and can inspire the conservationists of the future, which will then directly impact nature conservation.  

Waderscrape hide, Lyndon Reserve.