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Record-breaking season for Kielder ospreys

Osprey Y3 making its first landing on the nest post. Picture courtesy of Forestry Commission England
Osprey Y3 making its first landing on the nest post. Picture courtesy of Forestry Commission England

Kielder ospreys have had their most successful breeding season this year, since they first began nesting at Kielder Water and Forest Park in 2009.

Nine chicks have already fledged, beating 2014’s record of eight, with a further two more birds expected to take their first flights within the next week.

First to fledge was the chick ringed Y1 on July 13 from the nest known as 1A. Over the course of the following five days, his brother and two sisters also flew for the first time. Since then, three birds have fledged from Nest 2 and two from Nest 3, bringing the total to nine. Two further juveniles are expected to fledge from Nest 4 shortly.

Philip Spottiswood, Forestry Commission Wildlife Manager, said: “We are all delighted that 2016 has been a record breaking year for Kielder’s ospreys, the young birds will help to ensure that this once rare species continues to recover in England. Thanks goes to the Forestry Commission’s Wildlife Rangers who have done so much to ensure prime nesting sites are available in Kielder Water and Forest Park.”

Despite this great success, in the face of some challenging weather conditions earlier on in the season, this year has not been incident free. Sadly, the third juvenile to fledge from Nest 1A - the eldest Y0 - has not been seen since she first left the nest on July 15. The area around the nest was searched without success and it is unclear what has happened to her. The first year of an osprey’s life is always challenging, not least because it includes a solo migration to (mainly) Africa from late-August onwards.

Visitors can still watch the birds on Nest 1A through a nest camera broadcasting at Kielder Castle Café at the Forestry Commission’s Kielder Castle Visitor Centre and Northumbrian Water’s Leaplish Waterside Park.

Fans of the famous birds can also keep up to date with them by checking the blog.

The Osprey Watch is organised by Kielder Water and Forest Park Development Trust and Northumberland Wildlife Trust, with support from the RSPB. The partners are working hard to ensure that the ospreys are here to stay by maintaining a high quality habitat in Kielder Water and Forest Park and safeguarding and monitoring the nest site. Visit the website for more details.