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The Beginning of Rutland Water and Flying Home for Spring

East Midlands AGM 2016

14 April 2016, Rutland Water

    

 

 

 

 

East Midlands members gathered at the Anglian Birdwatching Centre at Rutland Water on a Thursday evening for their Section AGM and began the evening with a walk out to a bird hide on recently-constructed Lagoon 4. Armed with binoculars we were quickly rewarded with sight of Osprey 51 perched on the far side, obligingly awaiting his keen audience. A plethora of other fowl pottered around the lake, including a lovely egret, as we heard about the work that the Rutland Osprey Project has done with local fisheries, converting them to the cause by helping them diversify into ecotourism, renting out hides to osprey spotters from far and wide.

Following teas and the East Midlands AGM back at the centre, Mike Drew gave a fascinating talk about the project, including the unending work of combatting wildlife crime, using everything from police monitoring and razor wire, to education and volunteer surveillance. Some of the education work extended to the west coast of Africa where the ospreys spend their winters hanging out on the beach close to fishing villages that have traditionally seen them as a pest.

2015 saw the 102nd young osprey fledge from Rutland since the beginning of the project 20 years ago, with the population now up to 8 breeding pairs. The carrying capacity of the local area is thought to be around 15 pairs, so fingers crossed that numbers will continue to rise over the coming years.

One charming tale centred on male Osprey 33, who appears to be the very embodiment of male chivalry as he uses himself as a windbreak for his nesting mate, building her shelter of sticks when he needs to head off hunting and taking particular pride in his egg incubation duties, which he is reluctant to relinquish when she returns. Apparently this is not usual behaviour for ospreys, but Osprey 33 certainly seems to have learned some refined manners somewhere along the way!

 

You can read more about the Rutland Osprey Project at http://www.ospreys.org.uk/

 

 

 

  Photos by John Wright (top right and bottom)
  and Tamara Percy (top left)

  

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