They′re on their way - keep your eyes to the skies for the Kielder Ospreys

03 April 2018

Over the Easter period visitors to Kielder Water & Forest Park are being urged to once again train their eyes on the skies for the return of the Kielder Ospreys.

The annual soap opera in the sky will unfold as the iconic birds return over the coming weeks, with reunions, hatches, fledgings and the inevitable departure as the summer draws to a close.

In 2017, eight young ospreys - Amble, Ayle, Aln, Archer, Ancroft, Acomb, Aydon and Alwinton - were among those that migrated for warmer climes in late August, or early September. It was the first year that the Kielder osprey chicks had been given names, all beginning in A. The 2018 chicks will be named using the initial B.

The bird dubbed Yellow 37, who has inhabited Kielder′s Nest 2 site in past years, has historically been an early returner from wintering grounds, probably in West Africa. It is anticipated that he will arrive back at Kielder any day

Add something about shortly after the birds have returned, visitors will be able to enjoy Osprey Watch and observe the birds on the nest using telescopes and the live nestcam. It starts on 21st April and runs on weekends and bank holidays until mid-August, with additional Wednesdays from July.

Lynn Turner, Director at Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, said: "At this time of year, we all get excited around Kielder, waiting for the return of the ospreys.

"We are all looking forward to seeing our feathered friends once again and soon volunteers will be in place to help visitors get the most of their visits, with Osprey Cams at Landal Kielder Waterside and at Kielder Castle.

"Osprey Watch is going to be enhanced this year, thanks to new binoculars and powerful scopes that have been purchased with support from the Heritage Lottery-funded Living Wild at Kielder project, so we are sure that visitors will have a great osprey experience when they visit Kielder this year."

Fans can also keep track of this year′s osprey season at www.kielderospreys.wordpress.com.

The Kielder Osprey Project is a partnership between Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, Forestry Commission, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Northumbrian Water and Calvert Trust Kielder.. 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 sites. To find out more, go to www.visitkielder.com.

To post osprey sightings go to the VisitKielder Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kielder or the VisitKielder twitter feed at www.twitter.com/visitkielder.

You can also keep up to date with the ospreys at www.kielderospreys.wordpress.com.

For further media information, call 0191 3015678.

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 in Scotland in 1954 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.
• They are largely monogamous and faithful both to nest and mate.
• The nest is 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.
• 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.

3. Kielder Water & Forest Park, which spans 250 square miles, is home to the largest working forest in England and the largest man-made lake in northern Europe. It was awarded the number one tourism experience in England by VisitEngland 2013, and the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. Together with Northumberland National Park, it was granted gold tier Dark Sky Park status in December 2013. For more information see www.visitkielder.com.

4. Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust is a registered charity working at Kielder to promote sustainable development, provide recreational facilities, improve knowledge of the natural environment and encourage the arts. 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, Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society , Northumberland National Park Authority, Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Northumberland County Council. Affiliate organisations that are not members but have a close working relationship with KWFPDT include Arts Council England, Environment Agency, The Scout Association and local decision making bodies such as the parish councils.

5. 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.

6. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk.

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