Posted: 11.05.19 at 20:27 by The Editor
A new two-storey birdwatching hide was officially opened at Rutland Water Nature Reserve's Manton Bay today (Sat).
It replaces a single level hide to provide bigger and better facilities for visitors - and the best views of an osprey nest on the reserve.
The hide is critical to enable birdwatchers and visitors to enjoy, but not disturb, the wildlife at the reserve which is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area and a Ramsar site - a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
A donation by Mike Gale, of Glen Pava, in memory of his partner Helene Arnold enabled Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust to approach Grantscape and secure financial backing through the Augean Community Fund for the shallow water hide project.
Mr Gale said: "'Helene and I spent many happy hours birdwatching.
"With a shared interest in natural history we visited many places, Rutland Water being at the top of our list.
"Whenever we visited this reserve Helene had a particular interest in the ospreys and I remember her joy on seeing them.
"As we both enjoyed the comfort of the many hides on the reserve I felt it fitting that I should make a donation in her memory for a replacement hide to be built.
"Birdwatchers of all ages come to Rutland Water to see the ospreys and I hope that the new hide will encourage more people, especially the young to visit and enjoy the natural world."
Dr Mat Cottam, Reserve Manager, said: “What a fabulous hide this is!
"Many thanks to Augean and GrantScape for their support, but especially to Mike and Helene – for giving others the chance to come to this special place: a place which meant so much to them - and enabling others to come and enjoy a glimpse of the spectacular ospreys.
"Thanks also to the Rutland Water Nature Reserve Hide Building Team – staff and volunteers working together to build something truly wonderful… from scratch.
"It’s great to see what a bit of timber, a lot of knowledge, and some crazy hard work can do!
"I’m sure it will bring great pleasure to many, for many years to come.”
Lord-Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Sarah Furness and Mr Gale officially opened the new hide.
Dr Furness said: "What a positive way to remember keen birder Helene Arnold.
"Every exciting view of an osprey on its nest and every beautiful photograph taken from here will be possible in part because of her passionate interest.
"I would like to thank Mike for an inspired memorial and to thank all the funding bodies that made this hide possible.
"The old hide was a victim of its great location.
"It often became crowded with watchers and photographers vying for space.
"It is now possible to separate photographers and their equipment from those who have simply come to watch.
"The magic of peacefully watching, or photographing, and becoming absorbed in the tranquil scenes on the water has returned.
"The hide means everyone who wishes can peacefully enjoy this prime spot with its treasured view."
Dr Furness concluded by congratulating the staff and volunteers of Rutland Water Nature Reserve for the hide design and construction work done on behalf of Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.
"The fact this hide was built and designed so beautifully ‘in house,’ as it were, by staff and supporters of the reserve, meant that the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust got a much bigger and better hide than would otherwise have been possible," she added.
The hide is located near that water’s edge in Manton Bay, with a footpath leading to it from Lyndon Visitor Centre. There are 40 seats and wheelchair-friendly lowered viewing areas.
Photos courtesy of Rutland Water Nature Reserve