Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Rutland Footprints

The last few days have been spent on the shore of Rutland Water primarily to watch and photograph their Ospreys but also to find whatever other wildlife we could in the limited time that we had. I met up with my brother whose wildlife knowledge is as exceptional as his company and we set up camp on the southern shore overlooking the water. We aimed to spend as much of the daylight hours as possible getting to know the area and the local wildlife. The western edges of the water are littered with hides both for the Ospreys and the other, mainly waterbirds that live here. The Rutland Osprey Project is undoubtedly doing a great job with these majestic birds and are extremely careful to make sure that nobody gets close to either the nests, resting poles or fishing areas and getting real close-up shots are pretty well impossible. Even with a big lens the best I could do from the hide some 300 metres away was this:





Now don’t get me wrong, being able to watch these birds will always be welcome and sitting in a hide on a beautiful summer’s evening while they fly back and forth feeding their two chicks or stacking yet more sticks on to an already full nest is a privilege. There was a real sense of excitement when the chicks, nearing the time when they will fledge, bounce higher and higher always on the verge of leaving the nest. Next time for sure, or the next, or the next.
So, all along the western shore are numerous paths leading to numerous hides, all well made and comfortable with views along different parts of the shore covering different habitats. Unfortunately, you cannot stray from the paths and access to the water is very limited but this is an interesting place for a wander and we spent the first day, from noon til dusk doing just that.
Views of the Osprey were rare and distant from most of the hides, but every now and again a shot was possible, the birds really were far away.

Now don’t get me wrong, being able to watch these birds will always be welcome and sitting in a hide on a beautiful summer’s evening while they fly back and forth feeding their two chicks or stacking yet more sticks on to an already full nest is a privilege. There was a real sense of excitement when the chicks, nearing the time when they will fledge, bounce higher and higher always on the verge of leaving the nest. Next time for sure, or the next, or the next.
So, all along the western shore are numerous paths leading to numerous hides, all well made and comfortable with views along different parts of the shore covering different habitats. Unfortunately, you cannot stray from the paths and access to the water is very limited but this is an interesting place for a wander and we spent the first day, from noon til dusk doing just that. When the light is good the camera is never far from my eye and the shot count just goes up and up.





After the first day we had got as close as possible to the Ospreys and at 300 metres or so distance it was clear that some help would be needed. We set the alarms for 3.30 in morning so that we could head off to a hide that would give us more of a fighting chance to get the shots that I wanted. 


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