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Anglian Water's project to reintroduce the osprey to England has been an outstanding success, but is also a very personal project for the volunteers who have been involved in the ospreys' journey from Scotland to Africa via Rutland.
The Rutland Water Ospreys, published in close collaboration with Anglian Water and the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, is a celebration of their project and a chance for osprey fans everywhere to discover the many amazing stories behind the Rutland osprey team's efforts over the last two decades to re-establish these magnificent birds in England.
Historically the osprey was widely distributed throughout England but by at the end of the last century ospreys hadn't bred in England for more than 150 years. Thanks to Anglian Water's close work with the LRWT English chicks hatched in 2001 at Rutland Water, their largest reservoir.
This ground-breaking project was the first of its kind in Europe, and is now in its eighteenth year. Other osprey translocation projects in Italy and Spain have come about as a direct result of it, and breeding pairs are also now established in Wales as an indirect result of the work of the Rutland osprey team.
The Rutland Water team monitor the ospreys from their arrival from Senegal and the Gambia in March, through to their autumn migration. The nest sites at Rutland allow visitors to get close views to the ospreys, and artist and photographer John Wright has been working for Anglian Water for several years to document the Rutland ospreys from even closer.
Stories in The Rutland Water Ospreys will reveal early disappointments, detail the ospreys' incredible journeys as they migrate to Africa, and convey the pride the Rutland field team and many locals feel as 'their' ospreys return to the same roost year on year.
Tim Mackrill has been part of the Osprey team since 1997 when he was a volunteer aged 15. He joined the staff a few years later and since 2005 has been the team's Project Officer. In his spare time, Tim is also currently studying for and writing his PhD on Ospreys. John Wright, a photographer and artist, works for Anglian Water between March and September to visually document the Ospreys and their environment at Rutland Water. He has several years worth of original and never before published material on the Rutland Osprey project.
"[...] The book is very much a joint effort by the key individuals involved in the project. There is a foreword by Roy Dennis, whose expertise, enthusiasm and enviable powers of persuasion helped to get things started. And there are a number of diary-style contributions from some of the many hundreds of volunteers who have helped with monitoring and nest protection over the years. A special mention must go to John Wright who, on this evidence, appears to be equally skilled as a photographer and artist. His work appears on almost every page and images of the individual birds and events being described really help to bring the story to life. [...]
– Ian Carter, www.britishbirds.co.uk, 14-05-2013
"[...] The Rutland Water Ospreys is a beautiful publication and a fascinating read. For anyone who's ever experienced the joy of observing Ospreys in southern Britain – be it one of the Rutland birds raising a family in Wales or an early-morning cruise on the Rutland Belle – and wanted to know a bit more about them, this book is a must-read."
– Stephen Menzie, www.birdguides.com, 14-03-2013