Wildlife moves in before we do!

Wildlife moves in before we do!

When Little Ringed Plovers were first found breeding on the work yard of our brand new Volunteer Training Centre, the initial reaction was joy and excitement. Little Ringed Plovers are not a common sight on our shores first breeding in the UK in 1938. They have become quite successful in recent years mainly choosing gravel pits and man-made reservoirs as their breeding grounds. Despite this they have not successfully bred at Rutland Water for almost three years. Although we have regular visits from passing birds migrating to Africa for the winter, we do not have a stable population. The excitement and joy then subsided a little and trepidation set in, we were supposed to be moving into our new work yard and the opening of the centre was only a week away. As the famous saying goes, “don’t work with animals or children”. I have found that when it comes to wild animals it’s impossible to work with them, the only alternative is to work for them or, in this case, around them. With this in mind marquees were moved, barriers were erected and a small cage placed over the nest. You may have seen these cages out on lagoon four, if you have a keen eye. The idea is the holes in the wire are big enough for the Little Ringed Plovers to enter but too small for any potential predators. The use of these cages had led to successful hatching of at least one Little Ringed and one Ringed Plover brood already this year. I have to admit these Little Ringed Plovers were probably the most protected...
A year outside

A year outside

I am now over half way through my year here at Rutland Water and one of the things I have found most astonishing is watching the seasons change. When I started summer was just coming to an end and we were still in the aftermath of Bird Fair. Learning how the reserve worked and all the different species that are found here was very daunting at first and I feel I am only just getting to grips with it. On my first day the last Osprey left Rutland in search of warmer climates in Africa. The migratory birds began passing though and the numbers of ducks around the reservoir steadily multiplied. As the year progressed the leaves turned from a vibrant green to a dull orange and autumn started to set in. Jobs on the reserve started to change, from cutting meadows to cutting trees. Extra fleeces were pulled out to cope with the cold and all of a sudden the nights were longer than the days and we were immersed in winter. The trees stood bare with no protection from the icy winds and although we had a thin sprinklings of snow which only lasted a couple of days, it still transformed the nature reserve into a wintry fairy-tale. The cold months seemed to stretch on for an eternity making horrible jobs awful and awful jobs even worse. I picked up valuable skills such as woodland management, water vole surveying and my chainsaw certificate. We are now well into June and it feels closer to winter than to summer. The only reminders that it is now summer are...
A day to remember

A day to remember

Our new Volunteer Training Centre has been a long time in the making, so we couldn’t have been prouder to be joined by patron of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Sir David Attenborough, who marked the opening of the centre with a ribbon cutting. The Rutland Water Nature Reserve Team were joined by around 200 guests, including over 100 volunteers and all those who helped us make the Volunteer Training Centre possible. Today we may have opened the doors of our new building, but this in itself has opened many doors upon which opportunity knocks. Thanks to the new facilities, the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust will be able to connect more people with our local wildlife and wild places through education and training programmes in wildlife and heritage skills. We now have everything we need to be able to include people of all abilities and backgrounds, and ensure that their experience is one to remember. Volunteers have been at the very heart of the Volunteer Training Centre’s vision, and it seemed only right that they were the stars standing alongside Sir David Attenborough throughout the day’s events. Sir David was welcomed by Chairman of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust Andrew Moffat, and volunteers Phil Hurford and Anya Wicikowski whose speeches reflected the positive difference volunteering can make to people’s lives, whether it be by providing the experience you need to pursue a career in conservation or by trying out something new in the early days of retirement. Sir David was joined by volunteers as he cut the ribbon, which was followed by a huge cheer and round of...

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