‘Reserve Experts’ is a one day experience for young people, held on the Lyndon Nature Reserve, on the south shore of Rutland Water. It is intended for those who are already interested in, or involved with, some aspect of natural history study, birdwatching, or similar.

Delivered by the Education Team (all former teachers) and experienced reserve staff and volunteers, the practical activities provide an engaging and enriching experience for the young people who take part.

Participants received a notebook, a folder and notes on the activities, a bird magazine and copy of Osprey Expert or Ozzie Leads the Way book. A certificate of attendance was provided,

Two one-day events were run this year, Tuesday 30th July for 8-12 years and Wednesday 31st July for 12-16 years.

During the one day programme we offered a series of practical activities led by our experienced Education Team with contributions from other specialist reserve staff and volunteers.

Education Team and Volunteers
The Rutland Osprey Education Team comprised, Ken Davies, Jackie Murray and Pete Murray. They were assisted by Amy Hall (Cameron Bespolka Trust Ambassador), Lloyd Park and the bird ringing group and volunteers at the Lyndon Centre and Waderscape hide

Programme for the day

Bird ringing with the Rutland Water bird ringing team.
The youngsters were shown the process of ringing, measuring and data recording using birds caught in mist nets. The importance of ringing in our understanding of migration, ecology and the life expectancy of birds and bird populations was explained.

Field observation and recording.
This bird activity was based on birds seen from the hides and along the shore-line. Size, shape, features, colours, and behaviour were used to identify the birds. Participants took notes and compiled a bird list for the day. Binoculars were loaned to participants.(These were donated to the Rutland Osprey Project by Opticron)

Birds sounds.
Based in Teal hide, a presentation and activity session looking at pitch and pattern as a tool for bird identification. Memorising songs and calls and recording sounds was introduced.

An osprey study
Based in Waderscrape hide. Using binoculars and telescopes, the adult ospreys and chicks were identified and monitored.

Owl pellets activity.
Owl and osprey feeding was compared and the reason for making owl pellets explained. Dissection of owl pellets and identification of contents including the bones of mammals(simple key) bird remains and insect fragments.


Some of the comments received

Thank you for the wonderful Osprey Day you did with Ralph and the other children today. He had been looking forward to it for so long and it was exactly what he had hoped for. We're looking foreward to finishing off the owl pellet now. Children are naturaly interested but they need help from the adults around them to get started.

I wanted to write and tell you what a fabulous time Callum had on Tuesday. He hasn't stopped talking about it and loved showing his Grandad (a lifelong birdwarcher) his notebook, and telling him about the different parts of the day. He has also been enthralled by 'Ozzie Leads The Way' and has almost finished it.

Thank you for having Evie May today. She had a fabulous day and you really inspired her - she's still talking about it now!

We have received Eve's certificate and she is chuffed to bits with it! She had a fantastic time and came back full of interesting facts. She sat us down and presented them to us! She is looking forward to next year.

Matilda really loved her day and spoke so highly of all the staff and volunteers. She loved all the activities.

Thank you - Jonas had a fabulous day.

Bird ringing with the Rutland Water bird ringing team

Field observation and recording

The children learn to Identify bird sounds

Osprey study

Owl pellet study