Sunday March 18th- Osprey Ambassadors ‘Warm-Up’

The latest news from our Education Team- Ken, Jackie and Pete 
Balloons blowing about in sub-zero temperatures outside our Volunteers Training Centre  may seem a little out of place on this freezing Sunday here in Rutland, but it can only mean one thing – the 2018 Osprey Ambassadors Warm-Up is about to start!
And ‘Warm-Up’ is an appropriate term today! Down in the Bay, a biting east wind is whipping the water up into angry white-crested waves reminiscent of the North Sea, and Maya and 33 are spending most of their time hunkered down in the nest, with just the occasional foray during a lull to try and secure a fish. The Osprey Ambassadors, aged between eight and sixteen, and representing fifteen local schools, are arriving with parents, grandparents and other family members, keen and enthusiastic as ever, and looking forward to receiving everything they will need in order to fulfill their vital role in keeping classmates and teachers fully informed of the Ospreys’ progress between now and their departure in September.
After the briefest of introductions, we are straight into the new season, demonstrating the content of the memory sticks which the ambassadors will be using in their schools. We also issue a script, but frankly some of the ambassadors are skilled and experienced in Osprey work now, and they will make their own commentary to accompany the photographs of Maya and 33. The memory stick is updated each month at our regular Osprey Club meetings – held on the first Sunday of each month down in Wader Scrape hide in Manton Bay. And the first Osprey Club is in just two weeks’ time, on April 1st, Easter Sunday! Will there be an Osprey egg in the nest by then? Well, judging by the enthusiasm of our two Ospreys at the moment, it’s quite possible! And of course, as it’s Easter, we will be organising some sort of Osprey-related fun activity for our ambassadors….and Mums and Dads too!
After collecting membership cards, newsletters, memory sticks and everything else from the table, it’s time for cake and drinks in the kitchen next door! Our own resident Mary Berry (aka our friend Liz) has once again excelled herself and after just a few minutes the table is literally bare! Carrot cake, krispy cakes, cup cakes, chocolate cookies – where did they all go? Thank you Liz – brilliant!
Finally it’s up the gallery overlooking Lagoon 4, where the binoculars and telescopes are soon all being skillfully used to spot and identify as many species as possible in the snowy and  desolate scene before us. There are no Ospreys visible from here (although there is another nest platform awaiting an adventurous pair sometime soon we hope!), but these young birders are finding some good birds. Sam is compiling an impressive list, headed by the showy and spectacular drake Smew he has found, sheltering with its more sober red-headed female by the shore. A Pochard is another good find. The whole room is buzzing with the thrill of discovering and identifying all the birds – or are they all having a sugar-rush after all that cake?
All too soon it’s nearly 4.00 and time to go – but what a terrific afternoon it has been! We are always re-assured by these afternoons – the spirit, excitement, energy and enthusiasm of the young ambassadors, the huge support of the parents and families, the shared concern among us all that the Ospreys – and all the other creatures  –  should thrive here and everywhere else…….
It may be freezing outside, but here today there has been a warm, rosy glow! It’s going to be a good Osprey season! We’ll see you all very soon in your schools and at the next Osprey Club!