Ospreys fly back to set up home again

ANOTHER pair of rare ospreys has returned to Kielder Water and Forest Park.

The birds were spotted building their tree-top nest on an artificial platform, erected by the Forestry Commission.

The couple bred successfully for the first time in the 62,000-hectare wilderness last summer.

Earlier this month experts revealed that the original Kielder osprey couple – which produced the first chicks in 2009 – were also back for a fourth year running.

Philip Spottiswood, Forestry Commission wildlife manager for Northern England, said: “News that both pairs are back aiming to raise more chicks is a massive step forward. The second pair arrived a little late, causing us one or two anxious moments.

“But the prospects are looking good and we hope to add to the nine chicks raised in Kielder since the species returned to breed for the first time in at least two centuries in 2009.”

Last summer’s first-time parents had two chicks, one of which was much less developed than the other, but which nonetheless pulled through. The nest was monitored from afar to avoid disturbing the family. But this year cameras have been erected and live footage will soon be beamed into Kielder Castle Visitor Centre and Leaplish Waterside Park for visitors to enjoy. A nest-cam on the original nest is already showing live images at Kielder Castle.

On the ‘to-do’ list for the ospreys is a rapid courtship, laying and incubating eggs, nurturing and feeding youngsters and teaching them how to hunt on Kielder Water.

Kielder is only the second location in England where ospreys have naturally recolonised after becoming extinct in the mid-19th century.

You can follow the birds’ fortunes at kielderospreys.wordpress.com and sign up for regular updates on Twitter @KielderOspreys

To record your own osprey sightings go to the VisitKielder Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kielder