Osprey Pandion haliaetus


I think that if you're a birder you'll always remember the first time you saw an Osprey. It's special and even where that is a frequent event - in Florida they nest on power pylons or nest platforms in gardens and are a common sight - it is something to watch one plunging headlong into a lake or the sea in pursuit of a fish. These huge birds sometimes become completely submerged and, in Poland I believe, a large carp was once found with a complete Osprey skeleton attached to its back.

In England it's a rare bird, seen mostly on migration and nesting in only a few places. Seeing one is a notable experience and, until a short while ago, a view of breeding birds required a trip to Scotland or somewhere further. The attraction of Rutland Water to Ospreys, where birds often stayed during the breeding season, led to the start of the Rutland Osprey Project in 1999. Young birds were translocated from nests in Scotland, reared and released with a view to them returning to breed. That happened in 2001, when one chick - the first - was reared. There are now five nesting sites and 43 chicks have fledged as a result of the project, which has been so successful that has been copied in Spain and Italy.

This sketch was made of one of the birds at Rutland Water and finished from photographs. The medium is pencil on heavy cartridge, using five grades of pencil.





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