One of the highlights of ‘World Osprey Week 2020’ should have been taking place on Thursday 26th March, and it was being eagerly awaited both here in Rutland, and over 1500 kilometres away in the Basque region of Northern Spain. Mrs White’s brilliant Year 4 class at Whissendine School were all set to link up by Skype with their Spanish counterparts, who were to gather at the famous Urdaibai Bird Centre to chat about Ospreys and other wildlife, show one another recent Osprey-related work they had been doing, and exchange short presentations.
Sadly, as we all know, our present circumstances mean that the link-up cannot now happen, but instead we thought everyone might like to hear the story of Rutland Osprey Project’s friendship with Urdaibai over the last few years.
Sitting as it does directly on the Ospreys’ migration flyway, Urdaibai is ideally placed as a spot for translocation, and an observation point of migrating Ospreys in spring and autumn. About six years ago now, a translocation project was set up there, involving juvenile Osprey chicks from Scotland, and using the same model as previously employed so successfully at Rutland Water and many other places throughout Europe and further afield. Though still awaiting their first breeding pair, each spring the staff and visitors at Urdaibai are excited by the return and summer stays of regular Osprey individuals, which are now regarding it as their home. Other Ospreys pass over regularly or stay at this fish-rich wetland for a few days, on their way further north in the spring, and much further south in the autumn. Thousands of other birds, some migratory and some resident, make Urdaibai a fantastic place to observe them at close quarters, and the Visitor Centre there is a hive of activity throughout the year. Schools and youth groups from a wide area make frequent visits.