The Rutland Water Ospreys
By Tim Mackrill with contributions from Tim Appleton & Helen McIntyre, Illustrated by John Wright | A & C Black | Hardback | 2013 | #202855 | ISBN: 9781408174142 | 160 pages | 200+ colour photos | 200+ colour & black & white illustrations
The Publisher’s View: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.The Authors: 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.Fatbirder View: So much day to day, year by year conservation news ranges from the sad to the disturbing that it is a real pleasure to get a good news story. Bringing an iconic bird back to territory unoccupied for over a century is exciting and invigorating. Its probably true to say that bring back a bird that, on a global scale is very successful is hardly a priority. Nevertheless, it has several undeniably positive outcomes. Firstly, it raises public awareness in a way which simply would not happen with a much more needy candidate that is in the LBJ category for non-birders. To get people on side in a world of Disney and CGI, you need a big flashy bird doing big flashy things and ospreys do not disappoint as they swoop down onto Rutland water and struggle into the air with a foot-long pike like a hungry birder emerging from the local ‘Subway’ clutching a honey oat foot-long stuffed with tuna and jalapenos. Moreover, the lessons learnt at this place for this bird can be projected elsewhere and for other species.
Even were this not such good news the book is still very engaging, colourful, well illustrated and full of fascinating facts. I have no doubt it will sell for coffee table display and general interest and that will be as well deserved as Tim Appleby’s MBE! (As it happens, isn’t it time the Bird Fair originator and warden at Rutland for four decades was elevated to the knighthood for services to conservation?
This excellent book will be grist to the conservationist mill as well as gracing any library shelf!