Fishing Ospreys can be seen on a daily basis at Rutland Water, but the birds are often too distant for high-quality photos of them diving for fish. However, a new photography hide at Horn Mill Trout Farm now provides an opportunity to enjoy incredible views of hunting Ospreys.
In recent years Horn Mill, situated just north of Empingham and a few miles from Rutland Water, has become a favoured fishing site for many of the Ospreys in Rutland. The Trout at Horn Mill make for easy pickings for a hunting Osprey and over the past few summers the birds have started to have a significant impact on fish stocks at the site. After discussing the problem with us at Rutland Water, owner Lawrence Ball has decided to take a proactive approach. Rather than trying to discourage the birds, we have worked with Lawrence to build a photographic hide at Horn Mill that gives you the opportunity to view fishing Ospreys at very close quarters for the first time. We hope that any income this generates will help to off-set the losses of fish and, at the same time, demonstrate to the industry that taking this kind of sensible, proactive approach can be mutually beneficial to both fish farms and wildlife.
The hide is sunken into the ground beside a 36m x 17m pond that is stocked with in excess of 2000 Rainbow Trout. Over the past few weeks Ospreys have visited the pond on a daily basis and taken fish just a few metres in front of the hide. At present there are as many as eight different Ospreys who may visit the site, but it is important to emphasise that sightings can not be guaranteed in the same way as they can at various photographic sites in Scotland. Not only are there fewer birds in Rutland, but there are also a number of other potential fishing sites – including Rutland Water – in the local area. However, at present this is the only place in England where you have the opportunity of photographing fishing Ospreys at such close quarters.
The hide, which can seat a maximum of four people, is open for private bookings at the following times:
Morning Session – 5am (dawn) – 11am
Afternoon/Evening Session – 1pm – 9pm (dusk)
Places in the hide have now been reduced to £60 per person per session (following initial feedback). Alternatively you can reserve the whole hide for a single session for £210. It is also possible to arrange for you to be joined by a member of the Osprey project team, on request. Please also bear in mind that Horn Mill is a working fish farm and session times may be subject to change. We advise use of a tripod in the hide, although bean bags (not provided) can also be used.
To book your place please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred date and time.
In addition to Horn Mill, work is due to commence on a second hide at owner Lawrence Ball’s second site at Ryhall this week. Watch this space for more news on that!