Project volunteer Ken Davies will be keeping a diary again this year. Here’s his first blog of the 2013 season…
If you had been wandering in a remote and snowy region of Rutland on Sunday 17th March, you might by chance have stumbled on a humble wooden shed on the edge of a gloomy wood. At first, it would have appeared deserted and neglected, having stood empty and unused throughout this cruel winter. But as you approached, eager to seek shelter after a cold morning’s walk, a strange phenomenon would have greeted you. For, as you gazed in wonder, you would have seen white smoke issuing from a small chimney in the roof of the shed ~ at first the merest wisps, but then thicker clouds of pure white smoke! Was the shed on fire? Was someone, a hermit perhaps, cooking breakfast inside? Were you witnessing some ancient Rutland ritual?
You might have approached more closely, your curiosity aroused but your fears holding you in check. Just as you were thinking it might be better to turn back and return to civilisation, you would have seen the door of the shed suddenly burst open, and a dishevelled figure run out into the snow, shouting over and over again and pointing crazily across the field to the barely visible edge of the next woodland : ‘Habemus haliaetum! Ecce, habemus haliaetum! We have an Osprey! Look, we have an Osprey.’
It was true. One look, and you would have seen for yourself. An Osprey had returned to the Site B nest, and the watcher in the shed had seen it and lit his primitive stove, sending white smoke into the air and telling the world : ‘03 is back. Mr Rutland has come back again to claim his ancestral home once more.’ Maybe not from Argentina, like that other illustrious recipient of white smoke, but certainly from Africa, and welcomed with no less joy and thanksgiving here in the centre of England. He has made it yet again. Hurrah indeed! Rejoice in the news!
The watcher in the shed, calmer now but still inwardly ablaze, prepares to send the message out ~ good news indeed for all his followers waiting for word from him. Soon the county, the country, and the worldwide Osprey community, is told. One bird has awoken the nation, nay, the world! He is in the vanguard and others will now undoubtedly follow. Prepare yourselves, comrades, polish your binoculars, clean your boots and sharpen your pencils, study the rotas and set your alarm clocks! It’s starting again at last! The 2013 season has begun!