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Previously on Osprey Watch...

Posted: Wednesday 11th March 2015 by foulshaw-moss-osprey-viewpoint

Keeping our eye on the osprey

Christmas has nothing on the levels of excitement building towards April when we hope to see our osprey back at Foulshaw Moss. Last year we had a fantastically successful year with 3 chicks fledged so, in true Hollywood drama style, before they arrive again this year we thought we’d recap on what happened last year.

Male Osprey leg ringIt was 6th April 2014 when they arrived – we could tell from the leg rings that he was a local lad born in Bassenthwaite in 2008 and she was from a little further afield having been born in Kielder in 2010. The guys over in Northumberland were delighted when we told them she had arrived here with her mate.

Building the nest
The nest was all ready and waiting for them having been purpose built from twigs and cable ties at the top of a very tall tree, in the middle of a very big and soggy bog. The main threat to these beautiful birds is sadly man – we get too close, we disturb them, we reduce their habitat and, particularly in southern Europe, we shoot them. Good job some of us are doing our bit to protect them and our efforts are paying off – back in 1916 they were extinct in England but have made a comeback since 1954 and there are now 240 nesting pairs, though they remain on the Amber watch list.

Two Osprey eating fishLast year we had a camera on the nest which sent back photos every six hours but it wasn’t very reliable, and though we got some good pictures, a lot of them were poor quality. We had an eye on the nest from a security point of view but it was hit and miss because of this. This year we’re hoping to improve things with a better camera to enable us to live stream footage from the nest – please help us achieve this by supporting our camera appeal

Female Osprey on the nest
As well as the nest sightings they were spotted out over Morecambe Bay while they were fishing for food, which is why it’s so important we maintain strong links with those people protecting the rivers and coastlines to ensure there’s enough food not only to attract the osprey but to keep them coming back. It’s quite a sight watching them hovering over the water before diving in, wings tucked in tight, and then emerging with a fish for dinner.

First view of the Osprey chicks
Around April 20th we noticed the female had stopped leaving the nest – day and night she sat tight, whatever the weather –we were hoping for eggs, though the camera we had then couldn’t quite make them out.

On 6th June her efforts were rewarded with 3 beautiful little chicks, though they didn’t stay little for long! There was plenty of activity with the adults feeding them around the clock and by 2nd July they were huge; at this point we took the opportunity to ring them which they didn’t seem to mind too much, though mum & dad kept a beady eye on things from a nearby tree.

Rapidly growing Osprey chicks!
On 24th July the inevitable happened and they all flew the nest – they remained in the area for a little while eating plenty and generally getting themselves ready for their long flight south. Mum headed off first, soon followed by the others and our summer of excitement was over.

So now we’re excitedly awaiting their imminent return. Join us for next week’s “Where are they now?” blog where we’ll take a look at their migration route and don’t miss our future blogs “Know Your Osprey” and “Coming Soon to an Osprey Platform Near You” where we’ll tell you everything you need to know about these magnificent creatures and take a peek behind the scenes at our preparations for their arrival.
 Ringed Osprey Chick

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