Conservationists are celebrating news that the first two osprey chicks of the year have been born in Kielder Water & Forest Park.
KIELDER OSPREY WATCH 2012
Image: (grainy) images of the first osprey chick born in Kielder Water & Forest Park.
The first youngster hatched on Saturday with the other emerging on Monday in one of the two osprey nests in the 62,000 hectare (155,000 acre) Northumbrian wilderness.
The forest is only the second location in England where the bird has naturally recolonised after becoming extinct in the 19th century.
Forestry Commission staff monitoring live video footage in Kielder Castle whopped with delight when they spotted the first little one who like his sibling is reported to be healthy and able to hold himself upright.
Dad arrived with the first fish from Northumbrian Water′s Kielder Water a couple of hours later, which mum tore up into baby sized morsels for the chick to enjoy his first meal. One egg is yet to hatch and the other nest in the forest is about a week or so behind and also has three eggs.
Malte Iden, Forestry Commission Ranger at Kielder Castle, said:
"It′s always a big moment to watch an egg hatch, especially if the bird is as rare as an osprey. But with live video footage we have a grandstand view of natural history in the making. We hope the weather stays calm as last year a bad storm killed two of the three young ospreys in this nest. So far everything is looking good."
Nature fans can watch the action unfold this weekend with the launch of the Kielder Osprey Watch 2012.
Over 20 volunteers from across the Borders with a passion for ospreys will be operating powerful telescopes at Northumbrian Water′s Leaplish Waterside Park Visitor Centre to give the public a direct view of the nest
Roger Neilson, one of the volunteer co-ordinators with Northumberland Wildlife Trust, added:
"The ospreys have the caught the public imagination - they are the perfect bird to celebrate the mix of forest and water we have in such abundance at Kielder. Seeing the distant nest in a telescope and then looking at the close-up views on the CCTV at Leaplish will give a wonderful insight into this superstar of the animal kingdom."
The Osprey Watch will run on weekends and Tuesdays and Wednesdays (apart from Wednesday 6 June) until the chicks fledge - likely to be sometime in early August.
Hopes are high that Kielder could produce a record six young ospreys this year from the two nests, beating the three produced in each of the last three years.
"That would be something really special," adds Roger.
You can follow the fortunes of both nests at http://kielderospreys.wordpress.com
Get regular Twitter updates @KielderOspreys
Record your own osprey sightings at the VisitKielder Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/kielder
Kielder Osprey Watch 2012 is being organised by the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, the RSPB and Northumberland Wildlife Trust. 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
1. Historically ospreys lived in Northumberland, hunting on the once extensive network of marshes. However, records going back more than 200 years fail to mention any ospreys breeding in the county. Ospreys were once distributed widely, but persecution resulted in the species becoming extinct in England as a breeding bird in 1847 and in Scotland in 1916. Some birds re-colonised Scotland in 1954s 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.
2. Osprey Fact File:
Ospreys are migratory and arrive in late March and April and leave again for Africa in August and September. The bird 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 4-5 years old. Nests are generally built on the top of a large tree. Females lay two or three eggs at 1-3 day intervals which are incubated for about 38 - 42 days per egg. Chicks fledge about seven weeks after hatching.
3. Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust is a registered charity working to develop the Park as an inspirational place. It aims to improve economic, social and environmental sustainability, provide public recreation and leisure facilities, facilitate education in all aspects of the natural environment and advance art and architecture in the Park. The Trust works with the range of communities to benefit from these activities. 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.
4. 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.
5. The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. We believe that nature is amazing and want people to help us keep it that way. We are the largest wildlife conservation organisation in Europe with over one million members. Wildlife and the environment face many threats. Our work is focussed on the species and habitats that are in the greatest danger.
6. Media calls to: Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.