Lake District ospreys visited by the stork

by Graeme Lamb. Published Tue 26 May 2009 23:07, Last updated: 2009-05-26
Rare ospreys have bred at Bassenthwaite Lake since 2001

Ospreys that are being looked after by the Lake District Osprey Project on the east side of Bassenthwaite Lake, near Keswick, have successfully hatched two chicks with a third on the way.

The return of ospreys as breeding birds in Britain is one of the most famous conservation success stories in the UK. Having gone completely from the country in 1916, the numbers decimated by decades of shooting and egg-collecting, there are now 130 breeding pairs in Scotland and several more in suitable parts of Northern and Central England. Ospreys remain rare and heavily protected, however, and the successful birth and rearing of every chick in the wild is a triumph.

Two chicks were first spotted at Bassenthwaite Lake on Sunday evening and Monday morning, and now a team of approximately 100 volunteers at the project are involved in keeping a very close eye on the nest in order to monitor the health of the proud parents, as well as the young and the remaining egg.

The good news for interested birdwatchers is that, along with the volunteers, anyone with internet access can view the osprey family via live webcam at www.ospreywatch.co.uk.

Visitors to the Lake District can get within 400 yards of the nest in Dodd Wood. The special viewpoint is open during daylight hours with staff on hand between 10am and 5pm daily, equipped with telescopes. This service is offered by the RSPB as part of their ‘A Date with Nature’ scheme.

The local Osprey Bus service links the site with Keswick on weekends and bank holidays and during school holidays, for a greener transport option.

Bassenthwaite Lake itself is managed and owned by the Lake District National Park Authority, and is a National Nature Reserve and a Special Area of Conservation.

A spokesman for the Lake District Osprey Project, Nathan Fox, said: “We’re thrilled to see the arrival of the first osprey chicks of the season and look forward to seeing another new face in the coming days. This is always a nervous time for the project team so it is a great relief when the first eggs hatch.”

The adult male osprey has been a regular at Bassenthwaite since 2001 and has so far successfully reared 16 osprey, including six with his current partner. He has been observed delivering more than 100 fish for the female to the nest, but as the eggs are now hatching, his workload will almost double. The osprey chicks are expected to begin flying in August and then remain until about September before finding a new area for themselves.

The Lake District Osprey Project, which has given more than half a million people the opportunity to watch the ospreys in their natural environment in the past nine years, is a partnership of three organisations – the Forestry Commission, the Lake District National Park Authority and the RSPB.



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