An Osprey Ambassador Under Lockdown

One of our Osprey Ambassadors Harriet, has shared with us some of the brilliant things she has been getting up to, to stay connected to nature, during the lockdown...

During the Osprey Season, our brilliant Osprey Education Team will usually visit local schools as well as hosting school visits to the Rutland Osprey Project at Lyndon.

Each school elects one or two keen students to become Osprey Ambassadors, who represent not only their school, but the Osprey Project as well. They are responsible for helping their school stay up to date with the latest Osprey news throughout the season.

Each month, there is normally a monthly meet-up in the Waderscrape Hide, where the Osprey Ambassadors have the chance to chat with the Osprey Team, watch the Ospreys, get stuck in to lots of activities and, perhaps more importantly, enjoy some delicious cake!

One of our amazing Osprey Ambassadors, Harriet (11), has written this fantastic piece, sharing with us what she has been getting up to, to help her stay connected to nature during the lockdown. Enjoy...

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After 7 weeks of lockdown, it’s still possible to fulfil my job as an Osprey Ambassador by doing things in nature and spending as much time as possible outdoors (following lockdown rules) even if I can’t go to the meetings anymore.

Nearly every day, me and my parents have been taking a walk round the playing field near our house and on these walks we have been lucky enough to see rabbits, thrushes (morning regulars), crows (more morning regulars), lots and lots of wood pigeons, blackbirds, pied wagtails and robins. My favourite thing about these walks is that we hardly see anyone else and we see different wildlife to what we would normally see in our garden and in the rest of  town and that I can get out of the house and garden and have a bit of a change of scene. Another thing that is good about these walks is that I also get a bit of exercise.

Mallards on roof

(C) Osprey Ambassador Harriet

In our garden, we have seen lots of insects including green shield bugs, a cinnamon bug and a moth which only has a Latin name – Pyrausta  purpuralis. I have also seen our resident robin a lot (he is easily distinguishable because of a collection of very fluffy feathers around his tail), lots of blackbirds, goldfinches (they were eating the seeds off dandelion clocks – that’s why it’s important to leave dandelions on your lawn), greenfinches, blue tits, great tits and a pair of mallards which often sit on our neighbour’s roof and sometimes roost there. As well as all this, we found a red ants nest in our vegetable patch. Sadly, because of having lots of school work and weather conditions, I have not always been able to get out in the garden on week days and  have missed it a lot.

Pyrausta purpuralis moth

(C) Osprey Ambassador Harriet

Cinnamon Bug

(C) Osprey Ambassador Harriet

On International Dawn Chorus Day we got up at 4:30am and went for a walk so we could hear the dawn chorus, see the sunrise and see the reservoir from a distance. On this walk we saw lots of rabbits, mallards, tufted ducks, a male pheasant and two young-looking squirrels. We also saw a muntjac deer! As well as seeing lots of animals, we also heard a lot of birds. Some of the birds we heard included pheasant, mallard, blackbird and great tits. One bird we were definitely not expecting to hear was a cuckoo … but we did! We didn’t see the cuckoo though but I think that would be a bit too much to ask.

Another interesting activity we did was to put out our trail camera along with some kitten biscuits to see if we could see the hedgehog that comes into our garden at night. We didn’t see a hedgehog eating the biscuits on the camera but we did see one walk across the lawn. We got some great pictures of a cat eating the biscuits!

Recently, we have seen a lot of fledglings in our garden. My favourite bit of fledgling activity was seeing our resident robin feeding his young at different points in the garden. Once, one of the robin fledglings flew at my head and I thought it was going to crash into me but luckily it missed. We have also seen blackbird fledglings a lot and we even saw one of them having a bath. As well as seeing fledglings, we have also seen a blackbird taking food to its chicks in the clematis on our archway.

As well seeing lots of bird-life, we have also seen bats above our garden at night. Last year, we were fortunate enough to borrow a bat detector from our local wildlife watch group and were able to identify them and found that they are common pipistrelle.

Robin

(C) Osprey Ambassador Harriet

We haven’t just been doing hands on things with nature – we have also been regularly watching Rutland Water’s osprey webcam and saw the second chick hatching! We have also been watching Chris Packham’s “Self-Isolating Bird Club” YouTube shows.

I am looking forward to summer and the things it brings but more importantly, I am looking forward to going back to school because, although I am enjoying doing more things in nature, I miss my friends.