Visitors flock to see Rutland ospreys

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THE last of Rutland’s famous summer residents flew out of the county on Friday.

All of the Rutland Water ospreys have now left on their winter migration to Africa and have once again left a legacy behind them.

This year more than 30,000 people visited the Osprey Project at Rutland Water Lyndon Nature Reserve.

In addition almost 1,000 people set sail on special Osprey Cruises on the boat Rutland Belle.

Osprey Project information officer Paul Stammers said: “For the second year running a pair of ospreys raised three chicks on the nature reserve and people travelled from all over the UK to see them.

“There is no doubt that many people are now travelling long distances to Rutland specifically to see the ospreys. We regularly met people from as far a field as Kent and Yorkshire.”

The success of the project this year was marred by the disappearance and suspected killing of an adult male osprey in May.

The loss of the bird, known by the number 08(97), was the third ospreys to vanish from the same part of Rutland in 13 months.

As a result of the latest disappearance, the project team from Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and Anglian Water equipped two of the remaining male ospreys with GPS trackers.

Rutland Osprey Project officer Tim Mackrill said: “Following the disappearance of 08 we wanted to understand more about the birds’ fishing habitats. The trackers enabled us to follow the two birds throughout the summer and showed us exactly where they were fishing.”

The trackers also allowed the team and the general public to follow the migration of the two tagged birds through the project’s website.

As the last osprey headed south out of the county the team already knew one of their birds had reached its wintering grounds more than 3,000 miles away in west Africa.

The bird, known as AW, left Rutland on August 27 and flew 3,277 miles to the coast of Guinea in just 14 days; one of the fastest osprey migrations ever recorded.

Tim said: “He flew past London, Paris and Madrid before crossing the Mediterranean into Morocco. After skirting around the Atlas Mountains he went for four days without food as he crossed the Sahara.

For the latest osprey news visit www.ospreys.org.uk