A Wild Weekend

Following on from the success of last years’ visit, we were joined once more this weekend by ‘Keeping it Wild’, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trusts’ youth group. They joined our 2 youth groups, Wild Skills (for 13-18 year olds) and Wild Horizons (18-30 year olds) for a weekend of activities here at Rutland Water.

The group started the weekend in the workshop here at the nature reserve, where Keeping it Wild joined Wild Horizons to build bird boxes. These included swift boxes, which we will put up on the buildings here at Rutland Water in the hope of attracting breeding swifts. The groups worked in small groups to create their boxes, using saws, drills and hammers to complete the task.

With our finished bird boxes, including some just for swifts!

Next the Nottinghamshire group had an afternoon trip on the Rutland Belle, to see the water from a boat, before heading to Lyndon Nature Reserve on the south side of the reservoir to see our breeding ospreys in Manton Bay. The group got great views of a muntjac (as well as the ospreys!) whilst visiting and enjoyed chatting to our volunteers in the hide.
That evening, Keeping it Wild decided to set a moth trap, just outside our Volunteer Training Centre where they were staying. Laura Bacon, the group leader, set the trap, which works by drawing moths to a very bright light bulb. They then fall into a chamber below, where they are kept safe until the morning.

Inspecting the contents of the moth trap

Our Wild Skills group arrived bright and early the next morning, so we all got to take a look at what the trap had caught together. There were some brilliant moths with equally brilliant names, including a poplar hawkmoth, an elephant hawkmoth, a peach blossom, a ruby tiger, and several buff arches.

A Poplar Hawkmoth

An Elephant Hawkmoth

We then headed to Whitwell, on the north arm of the reservoir, to carry out a litter pick. At first glance, Whitwell car park and the surrounding area looked pretty clean. However on closer inspection there was, unfortunately, plenty of litter to pick. The group split into pairs (one Rutland member, one Nottinghamshire member) and in just 3 hours collected 16 bin bags full of litter between them. If we’d had the time we could have kept collecting all afternoon, which is a real shame – but we were pleased to have removed a large amount in the time we were there. A big well done to both groups for collecting so much!

We collected 16 bin bags full of rubbish

Finally we ended the weekend with a Bird Race. We split into 4 teams – with each team having members from both Rutland and Leicestershire – and tried to spot as many bird species around the reservoir as possible in 2 hours. The winning team got 43 species – not bad for a very hot July afternoon!
Thank you to Keeping it Wild for visiting, we all had a brilliant time!