Paul Waterhouse, Assistant Field Officer Breckland
Thanks to funding supplied by the BIFFA FLAGSHIP project and the help of the Rutland Osprey Project an artificial osprey nest has now been built in a secluded spot in the Norfolk Broads.
Rutland Water Senior Reserve Officer and osprey expert, Tim Mackrill agreed that the Norfolk Broads was a fantastic habitat for ospreys and it was well worth attempts to encourage them back into the area.
Tim and the team arrived on a very cold and dull morning, however this did not dampen their enthusiasm for the task ahead. Their vehicle was laden with tools and equipment which NWT warden, Mark Amiss helped us to load into the boat and ferry across. The osprey team had not yet seen the site, which we had chosen last winter. Although, I was fairly confident we had chosen a good spot, if I am honest I was a little nervous as to whether they would think the same. However as we approached the site I was relieved to hear Tim say “I would have picked the exact same spot”.
|Preparing the nest|
After hauling all the equipment through the reeds, Tim and Lloyd Park (Rutland Water Assistant Reserves Officer and experienced tree surgeon) quickly decided which tree was most suitable. Both Tim and Lloyd climbed the tree and began to make space for the base of the nest high in the tree top.
After this a large piece of mesh weld was secured to make the main platform on which they would build the nest. The mesh weld is ideal for this as it allows water to drain through the nest and it is also strong enough to hold the weight of a nest measuring more than a metre across. We then started to gather stick for building the nest from around the site which were hoisted up to the top of the tree.
These are then arranged to make the nest and secured using wire and cable ties, which can be seen in the picture. The last ingredient is mud and moss which lines the nest and makes it look like the real thing.
|The new osprey nest in the Broads|
I may have made this sound much easier than it actually is, but it takes a great deal of knowledge and skill to make these nests so realistic and convincing. The Osprey Project have now made many of these nests not just in Rutland but in a number of different counties. They regard them as an effective and important method of helping to re-establish this once common species back to its former distribution.