Nature & wildlife
Look no further than Rutland for a first class bird watching experience.
The internationally respected British Bird Watching Fair takes place here every August (19th – 21st August 2011) at Egleton, and attracts over 20,000 visitors who come to listen to celebrity seminars, stock up on gadgets but most of all to admire the fantastic bird life on the reservoir. Click here to visit their website.
Ospreys were first introduced to Rutland to help restore the bird as a breeding species in England and help its chance of long-term survival. They have been breeding in Rutland since 2001, when the first healthy chick was hatched. Since then, a successful breeding programme has been underway and visitors come from near and far to watch them through Spring and Summer before they make their long journey to northern Europe for the winter. 2010 saw five pairs raise twelve healthy chicks, which is the most ever in a year!
Dedicated Osprey Cruises are available on The Rutland Belle on various Saturday’s and Wednesdays from April to August, and there is a dedicated website telling the story of Rutland’s Ospreys, click here for more information.
Two well equipped centres at the Rutland Water offer bird watchers a fantastic view of the reservoir. The larger venue, Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre at Egleton has numerous facilities including hides, visitor centre and shop, education section and offers guided walks with the professionals. Lyndon Hill Nature Reserve is smaller in size but equal in appeal and has just been completed revamped; a lesser known gem it is well worth seeking out during a visit to Rutland. Find out more about what the Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre and Lyndon Nature Reserve can offer by clicking here
The aim of this important project was to restore the Osprey as a breeding species in England and to extend the species' breeding range in the United Kingdom in order to enhance its chance of survival. We are glad to say that the project is going well and Ospreys are successfully breeding in Rutland.
To find out more about the project click here to visit the Rutland Osprey Project website where you can follow the diary of Osprey nests in Rutland and also view a webcam of one of the nests, available in the nesting season.
There is an Osprey nest at Lyndon Nature Reserve, giving you great opportunities to see these magnificent birds.
Since 2005 many visitors have boarded the Rutland Belle for a cruise on Rutland Water in the hope of seeing Ospreys catching fish. Most have seen Ospreys, sometimes the birds are flying over the boat carrying a still-live trout, sometimes they are circling above the water looking for their prey, and sometimes you see the magic moment where the birds splashes into the water and rises again into the air clasping its prize.
The footpaths around Rutland Water provide an excellent platform from which to view the plethora of wildlife; bring a pair of binoculars and see what you can spot. Alternatively, join one of the guided walks on offer from Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre, where an experienced warden will guide you around the nature reserve. For more information, click here to visit their website or contact the Tourist Information Centre on 01780 686800.
In addition to Rutland Water, there are many other Nature Reserves around the county, Bloody Oaks Quarry, Ketton Quarry, Merry’s Meadow, Prior’s Coppice.
Rutland Falconry and Owl Centre is set in 42 acres of unspoilt woodland and has beautiful views over Rutland Water. There are over 90 birds on site, including owls, hawks, falcons, buzzards and even vultures.
Some of the birds can be handled, and others prefer to fly for visitors. The centre offers a number of activities for visitors to take part in. There is an introductory “hands on” day course, which includes instruction on how to handle the birds as well as the amazing opportunity of flying some of the birds “to fist” (prebooking essential). In addition, “Hawk Walks” are available on a limited basis.The owners of the centre are actively involved in education and regularly visit shows to give demonstrations and displays. Sponsor a bird schemes are available to support the work of the centre.
Rutland Falconry and Owl Centre is open 7 days a week from 10am until late in the summer and closes earlier during the winter. To view their website click here