04 June 2018
New life is breaking through in Northumberland with the year′s first new Kielder ospreys having hatched.
While the ospreys′ breeding season at Kielder Water & Forest Park has been delayed slightly by weather conditions, such as the Beast from the East, a flourish of hatchings have now begun with the first two chicks breaking through within two hours of each other - on the same nest!
Over the weekend, the final egg on that nest also hatched, while there were three other hatchings on other nests.
The new additions to the Kielder osprey family continue Kielder′s ‘soap opera in the sky′, following a flurry of ‘cast′ changes earlier in the season. While one regular, a male osprey that normally makes its home on nest three, failed to return, he was replaced by a new arrival that has quickly settled in with the usual female.
Three eggs have been spotted on each of the four nests, leading to optimism that 2018 -the tenth year that ospreys have bred at Kielder- will be a bumper year for young osprey hatchings.
Kielder osprey expert volunteer Joanna Dailey said: "We should see a flurry of activity now as the eggs start to hatch, bringing another year of new life to the Kielder osprey story. The time between the first two chicks is possibly a UK record for the shortest interval between hatches, although eggs have hatched within 24 hours on a number of nests, including Nest 4 last year.
"The new arrival and his mate have done very well, as have the returning ospreys, in gifting us a dozen eggs, with the promise of continuing the growth of the Kielder osprey family.
"Now comes the tough part for the chicks, as they strengthen and prepare to fledge, so that they can hopefully thrive and be ready for their migration at the end of the summer."
Kielder Osprey Watch runs on weekends and bank holidays until mid-August, with additional Wednesdays from July.
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.