Dear Diary

Since Tuesday 10 July I have been coming to Lyndon Nature Reserve for my Work Experience, and I have really enjoyed myself as the atmosphere and the staff are really welcoming.  I thought it would be nice to share the activities I have been involved with which will emphasise how hard the Team work to keep the Project running.

Tuesday: My first day here at Lyndon was really interesting and to start with Michelle briefed me on the aims of the Project and all the exciting activities I will be taking part in during the week.

Throughout the day I was given many little tasks to complete including updating the “Latest Sightings” board and making wrist bands for the Fun Day on the 27 July for the children.  The wrist bands varied in colour from bright yellow to dark pink and on each one there was an Osprey’s ring number so the children can pretend they are an Osprey and can learn more about the individual birds.  In the afternoon I walked down to the Waderscrape Hide with Michelle so we can see the Manton Bay Ospreys and somehow I managed to get my trousers muddy on the way to the hide!

When I got home that evening I couldn’t wait for the next day to come as my first day was great fun and informative.

Wednesday: Today I was visiting the RAF Primary School in Cottesmore with Ken.  You wouldn’t think we’d be able to get lost trying to find the RAF Base, but we did!  When we eventually found the base the next challenge was getting through security and then finding the primary school.  Trying to find the school was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but in the end we found the nursery car park and found how to get into the school, although we didn’t come in through reception….

Once we were shown where we were giving the presentation trust the technology to provide another hurdle for us to jump!  Eventually all of the children were seated on the floor and we began our talk.  All of the children took great interest in the Ospreys and many asked really good questions.

You would think finding the car would be simple.  We were shown out of reception the way we were meant to enter in and went left then right then left and came to a dead-end which means no car.  We re-traced our steps and kept turning left until we found the car.

The day was not over yet, and after lunch Becky, Lizzie and I answered questions from a primary school in Oxfordshire and wrote them up on the back of postcards to the children.  This was great fun and it did test my knowledge on the Ospreys, most of the information I had learnt yesterday and this morning, and surprised myself with what I knew.

I barely noticed how fast the time had gone and only when I looked at the clock did I realise I was meant to have gone home 20 minutes ago!

9F(left) and 8F after ringing

Thursday: As part of waking the Centre up I turned the computers and the TV on ready for the visitors.

Once the Centre was ready to open Tim and I went out into the meadow across from the centre to place a satellite tracker in the sun to charge which will (hopefully) be carefully positioned on an Osprey sometime soon.

Tim tasked me with producing a webpage containing the questions asked by the primary school children that I responded to the previous day and was shown how to insert pictures and recordings of the Ospreys.  By lunch time the webpage was complete and John and Michelle had arrived from a busy morning elsewhere.

After lunch I went down to the Waderscrape Hide to observe the Ospreys.  There was little wing flapping as the weather was miserable.  A family of Tufted Ducks were paddling around just in front of the hide, but what really caught my attention was that the ducklings, barely a week old, were already diving confidently!  As I was about to head back to the centre the female Osprey chased an intruder away and was absent for so long the male went to look for her.  There were also many Reed Buntings and Cormorants and the odd Common Tern.

At the end of the day I started entering data into a spreadsheet, which included how many fish 5R(04) brings in and the most common species caught.

Friday: As soon as I arrived at Lyndon Michelle and I spent most of a shift down at the Waderscrape Hide and saw little wing flapping but saw a Whitethroat and a Sedge Warbler just in front of Michelle and I.  I had never seen a Whitethroat before and was surprised how small it was and how white its throat was, hence it being called a Whitethroat.  There were also many other species there including Cormorants, Reed Buntings and, of course, the Tufted Ducks.

Once we had finished lunch I carried on with the spreadsheet and Harry and Max, who are also on work experience and had turned up earlier this morning, completed a spreadsheet for 03(97)’s fishing habits, and successfully compared both 5R(04) and 03(97).  Once finished the comparison it was our next challenge to put it on the website which was completed that afternoon.

Another day gone!  Time is definitely against me this week, but I suppose time flies by when you are having fun (and working hard)!

2F on the perch as 1F comes in to land

Monday: When I arrived I was informed that 8F(12), the juvenile male from Manton Bay, had successfully made his first flight at 06:30am!

This morning Harry, Max and I went down to the Waderscrape Hide for a shift, and were given a task which was to note down as many bird species as possible and how many of each.  At the end of the shift we had observed 31 species of birds and on many occasions saw more than 10 of one species!

For the Fun Day on the 27, July Harry, Max and I prepared a quick quiz for the children to complete and also made a bird list of species they may see.  Each bird on the list was given points depending on how likely they are in seeing that bird.

Tuesday: It was an early start this morning as Ken was taking me up to the Site B nest for a shift.  As we arrived we could see Tim, John and Lloyd watching the Ospreys intently as there was some drama the previous afternoon and evening, as 1F had fallen into the undergrowth and but sadly 3F had fallen into the undergrowth and didn’t reapper.  Luckily, 1F was fine and was returned after a night at the Centre perfectly well and with no damage to its wings, but sadly the other juvenile was lost.

It was like watching a live drama, as there was never a dull moment!  Perhaps that was an Osprey’s version of Eastenders!  Throughout the shift the Osprey chicks went out of sight, an intruder appeared which 03(97) chased off, and of course, the daily feeding session.  It was really difficult to leave as you become attached to the juveniles so easily since you never know what will happen to them after you leave.

One of my teachers from school had visited before I arrived back from Site B, but after lunch an influx of Uppingham Community College students appeared, which brought along a few teachers as well.  I decided that as the teachers were interested in the Ospreys I would give them a quick presentation as they would have to go to finish their walk around Rutland Water.  They asked many questions and it was great for me, as a test, to see how much I have learnt throughout my week here and for them to learn a little more about the Ospreys and have a break at the same time.

One day left!  I cannot believe how quickly the week has gone!

When I looked on the website in the evening guess what?  3F had returned!!  This is great news and I am sure everyone is relieved.

Manton Bay female chasing the unwanted visitor

Wednesday: My final day here at Lyndon, but the start of many great experiences.

This morning I arrived and designed the Make Your Own Bug Hotel Tokens and a poster for the Fun Day, which was great fun to do and it also tested my creative skills on the computer.

After lunch Michelle and I drove down to the Shallow Water Hide to view the Ospreys from a different perspective, hoping that 9F would fledge whilst we were watching, but due to a huge amount of rainfall we were unsuccessful.  We had to be back at the Centre for 3pm as we had a Cruise to do.

At Egleton the classroom was set up and I, along with Tim, served the visitors with tea and coffee, and had the introductory talk by Tim and Paul.  We then moved on to Whitwell and boarded the Rutland Belle.

The cruise was successful as we did see 5R return to the nest but with no fish, possibly because there was a sudden downpour of rain.  All the way through the cruise it seemed like we had  a taster of all four seasons; sun, rain, hail and wind and we had the great privilege to be on the first cruise through a hail storm.

To conclude the highlight of my week here was definitely the visit to Site B because it was great to observe the Ospreys in a different landscape to those at Manton Bay and to have the excitement of intruding Ospreys and also the sudden worry when a juvenile was out of our sight.  Although this was my highlight I have enjoyed all tasks thrown at me and the activities I have been included in.  Thank you very much to the Osprey Team and the Volunteers who made my Work Experience influential and so incredible.


One response to “Dear Diary”

  1. Monica & Tony

    Abigail your reports are wonderful. Have really enjoyed reading them and you have learnt so much about the Ospreys especially in such a dramatic season they are having this year and then you have very ably passed on the information to us all.

    We are so pleased you have had this wonderful experience and do hope you may be able to take this further in your education. As we are quite regular visitors to the project we may see you there in the future as a member of the team.

    Our thanks to you again Abigail, well done!