Excitement as breeding ospreys return to Foulshaw Moss

As a successful pair of breeding ospreys returns to Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve, will we have chicks for the eighth year running?
Image of Foulshaw Moss ospreys Blue 35 and White YW

Blue 35 and White YW returned to Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve on Friday 26 March.

Blue 35 and White YW,  the two ospreys who successfully raised and fledged two chicks last year, have returned to Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve, near Witherslack, South Cumbria. Both ospreys returned on Friday 26 March, first the male White YW, followed a few hours later by the female Blue 35 (last year they returned on 26 and 27 March).  

Paul Waterhouse, Reserves Officer for Cumbria Wildlife Trust, looks after Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve. He said: “We’ve been waiting with eager anticipation for the return of Blue 35 and White YW and it’s great to see them safely return to Cumbria. We look forward to what we hope will be yet another successful breeding season. Last summer two osprey chicks fledged, bringing the breeding pair’s total to an amazing 18 chicks so far since 2014! Let’s hope for an equally successful season this year!”

Last year, the Foulshaw ospreys were a social media sensation and the number of people following the views of the live osprey webcam doubling over the previous year. During the first lockdown, many osprey watchers said the webcam was a ‘lifeline’, bringing them close to nature during difficult times during lockdown. One of them, Andrea Lowrie, said: “The osprey webcam actually got me and my little boy through the lockdown 1.0 as we would sit for hours watching as the eggs hatched and the chicks grew until they were hunting for themselves. It was a joy.” 

Paul said: “We were overwhelmed at the level of support we got for our osprey cam, from all over the country, indeed the world! People wrote to us, sent donations and even sent us their osprey poetry, inspired by watching these wonderful birds of prey at close quarters. We were touched at how this wonderful wildlife spectacle, that we’re so lucky to witness here in Cumbria, brought comfort to so many people at a difficult time and we hope everyone will continue to watch it this season as well.”

This year, the webcam is back up-and-running and for the first time, it now includes sound so you can hear the birds calling to each other as they bring fish back to the nest. Watch the ospreys close-up here.  Paul said: “This is the best way to observe the ospreys. You’ll be able to study their behaviour all through the breeding season. A highlight will be when we see how many eggs there are (hopefully in April) and start wondering when they’ll hatch. We encourage everyone to follow all these milestone moments with us on the webcam.”

Paul continued: “Our new 360-degree virtual tour of Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve is another great way to experience the nature reserve, from the comfort of your own home. With dramatic, panoramic views, you can look around the nature reserve as if you’re really there, zoom into the osprey nest and viewing points, and read all about these great birds of prey.”

You can donate to the osprey webcam here

Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve is open to visitors. Please follow the one-way system and observe social distancing at all times. If the car park looks full, please return later at a less busy time. The raised osprey viewing platform is closed but the lower viewing point is open. Please bring your own binoculars or telescopes. If you are thinking of visiting, we draw your attention to current Government guidelines: “The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March but many restrictions will remain in place. People should … minimise the number of journeys they make, where possible avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes.”

For more news of the Foulshaw ospreys, listen to the regular Osprey Watch slot on Radio Cumbria, every Friday afternoon throughout osprey season.

Join in the osprey conversation on social media using #FoulshawOspreys