Rangers in Kielder Water & Forest Park have their fingers crossed for some rather more unusual eggs this Easter.
It has been confirmed this week that the record breaking pair of ospreys have returned to their nesting site and hopes are high they will settle down and raise their third brood in as many years.
Mike Pratt, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, said: “We’re all delighted the ospreys are back at Kielder. The male arrived some time ago and we’ve been waiting with baited breath for his partner to return too. As is a woman’s prerogative
she was fashionably late but we can confirm we
have now spotted both of them on the nest.”
The pair was the first to breed on record in Northumberland back in 2009 and successfully raised three chicks that year and then another three the following.
They have undertaken a mammoth 10,000 mile round trip to Africa and back since they left the Park last August.
Ian Robinson, RSPB, said: “We have cameras on the nest and we have spotted the female eating a huge fish. The male has been displaying and preening himself. We look forward to seeing an aerial courtship display now and all being well they will once again raise a family.”
The ospreys have until early September to mate, produce chicks and teach their offspring to fish for themselves before going separate ways again.
Providing things go to plan, Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust will organise a viewing area with the RSPB and Northumberland Wildlife Trust at Leaplish Waterside Park.
The free Osprey Watch events will give visitors a chance to view the birds on the nest through high powered telescopes with volunteer experts on hand to tell the story.
Meanwhile, fabulous views of the nest will be streamed live to Kielder Castle from 10am to 4pm every day and there is also a new osprey exhibition open daily. At Tower Knowe Visitor Centre the ospreys’ finest moments over the last two years is showcase in special highlights footage.
Osprey Watch will run on weekends from Saturday 28 May (including bank holiday Monday 30 May) to Sunday 31 July, from 10am to 5pm and Wednesdays throughout July from 10:30am to 12:30pm. For more information call 01434 251 000.
The partners are working hard to ensure that the ospreys are here to stay by maintaining a high quality habitat in Kielder Water & Forest Park and safeguarding and monitoring the nest site. To find out more go to www.visitkielder.com.
Historically ospreys lived in Northumberland, hunting on the once extensive network of marshes. Accounts written in the 1700s refer to the presence of `fish eating hawks’ locally. However, until last year there were no records of the bird breeding in the county for well over two centuries.
The Kielder Water & Forest Park ospreys are thought to originate from the expanding Scottish population. Ospreys were once distributed widely, but persecution resulted in the species becoming extinct in England as a breeding bird in 1840 and in Scotland in 1916. Some birds re-colonised Scotland in the 1950s and by 2001 there were nearly 160 breeding pairs (today about 200). The same year saw the first successful osprey nests in England for 160 years by re-colonising birds in the Lake District and re-introduced ones at Rutland Water in the East Midlands.
• Ospreys are migratory and arrive in late March and April. They leave again for Africa in August and September.
• The bird of prey is an Amber List species because of its historical decline (due to illegal killing and egg theft) and low breeding numbers.
• Ospreys normally breed for the first time when they are aged between three and five years old.
• They are largely monogamous and strongly faithful to both nest and mate.
• The nest is generally built on the top of a large tree, usually a conifer.
• Females lay two of three eggs at one to three day intervals which are incubated for 37 days per egg.
Ospreys divide the nesting duties between the pair. The female does most of the incubating, brooding and direct feeding of the young. She guards them throughout the nesting period and will share the hunting at later stages when the chicks are larger. The male is the major provider of fish for the female and chicks. Chicks fledge about seven weeks after hatching.
Northumberland Wildlife Trust is the largest environmental charity in the region working to safeguard native wildlife. One of 47 Wildlife Trusts across the UK, Northumberland Wildlife Trust has campaigned for nature conservation for over 40 years. It aims to inform, educate and involve people of all ages and backgrounds in protecting their environment in favour of wildlife and conservation. Supported by over 13,000 individual and 56 corporate members in the Region, Northumberland Wildlife Trust manages and protects critical species and habitats at over 60 nature reserves throughout Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.
The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. In 2008, RSPB launched a campaign to highlight that birds of prey continue to be killed, despite the fact that it is illegal and has been for decades. Over 200,000 people signed the pledge to stop the illegal killing of birds of prey and in February 2010, this petition was handed over to the then Wildlife Minister Huw Irranca Davies.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is a registered charity: England and Wales no 207076, Scotland no. SC037654
For more information contact Philippa Clark, communications advisor (Kielder Water & Forest Park), on 0191 301 5538, 07970 897 756 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust is a registered charity working to develop the Park as an inspirational place for leisure, exploration and fun.
Members, who have appointed directors/trustees to serve on the board, are Northumbrian Water, Forestry Commission, Calvert Trust Kielder and Northumberland County Council. Affiliate organisations that are not members but have a close working relationship with KWFPDT include Arts Council England, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, The Scout Association and local decision making bodies such as the parish councils.