Over-wintering osprey project volunteers work hard at Lyndon

The Lyndon Visitor Centre closes each year from mid-September when the ospreys leave Rutland, and re-opens in the spring to coincide with the ospreys’ return. However, this does not mean that all work ceases…

Every Monday throughout the winter months, a work party takes place at the Lyndon Nature Reserve, run by the osprey team. The volunteers who take part in these work days are all osprey volunteers who monitor our breeding birds and talk to the public about them during the summer season. These work parties have several advantages. They serve as a brilliant way of keeping the osprey volunteers and staff in touch with each other and the nature reserve throughout the winter. As such, there is a large social angle to these weekly gatherings. However, all of the volunteers put in an enormous amount of hard work too.

Most of the work that takes place on the work parties is vital habitat management work, tasks which need to be undertaken in order to keep the reserve at its best and maintain its wildlife interest, all through the winter and into next spring. Some of the tasks completed to date include removing reeds from the shallow scrapes to prevent them from drying out, coppicing blocks of willow and hazel to let more light penetrate to the woodland floor, and managing the hay meadow by cutting it and then removing the material to enable the usual diversity of wild flowers to flourish again in the spring.   

Another important factor is that, although the visitor centre is closed, the nature reserve at Lyndon remains open to the public throughout the winter, and as such needs to remain safe and usable. Therefore, other tasks that the work party team undertake include trimming back hedges, ensuring no vegetation or branches are overhanging paths, keeping pathways clear of debris, and maintaining the condition of the birdwatching hides and the views from them.   

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Roughly 15-20 osprey volunteers turn out every week for the work parties. They always put in a lot of hard work, which is very much appreciated! The work parties are also really good fun, and it’s great to see everyone getting along and having a good time in addition to consistently completing tasks to a high standard. Efforts are rewarded each week with a delicious home-made soup provided by Paul Stammers, and an excellent selection of cakes and treats that volunteer Jan Warren makes for dessert.