11 April 1997

Bringing ospreys home to breed…

ON my early morning drive to Nottinghamshire, I listened to Vaughan Williamss The Lark Ascending, expecting that I was going to learn much about that bird and many more besides at Notts FWC group meeting.

The speaker for the morning was Martin Aspinall from Rutland Water Nature Reserve, who gave us a talk about the five-year project to re-introduce ospreys to England. If successful it will mean this rare bird of prey will breed here for the first time in 150 years.

The translocation has been carefully researched by Roy Dennis of the Highland Foundation for Wildlife and the osprey chicks collected from well monitored nests in the Scottish Highlands under a special licence from Scottish National Heritage. In early July last year seven chicks were transported to Rutland Water. They travelled by road in the dead of night and were placed on specially-built release platforms, the work of Tim Appleton, reserve manager, his staff and volunteers who have observed and monitored the birds.

These dedicated people also built artificial nest platforms for the chicks who were left to learn to fly and feed themselves naturally. Each one had a small lightweight tag fitted to its tail and it is hoped that after their migration to West Africa that they will return and breed on Rutland Water in 1998.

Jean Howells