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Osprey Chicks on the nestWelcome to the Lake District Osprey Project website for 2019.

We are now open April 1st to August 30th 2019. 

The tapping of tiny claws! Yes, we have at least one chick in the nest. On Tuesday 4th June our female bird was first seen dipping her head into the base of the nest with fish. More than one chick? We will not be sure until it/they are big enough to see above the nest edge.

No 14 our ‘Star’ traveller, hatched 2013, as usual spent his winter in Bioko, fishing and roosting before starting his 4000 mile journey over the Sahara back to the Lakes. He is now in South Lakes.  Last year he built a nest and was seen displaying to attract a female osprey. Will he find a partner this year? No, sadly, there seems to be no evidence of romance here – hope he’s not an eternal bachelor!

  • Keep reading the Diary as we hope to put in new information about other wildlife of the Bassenthwaite valley as it happens.
  • As the birds have moved nest site this year we have no ospreywatch webcam.

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Buckle up, its a rollercoaster ride!

Where do I begin! Watching the ospreys is many things: rewarding, entertaining, and sometimes, downright hard. Much like the nations favourite soap operas, it gives us plenty of drama, suspense and, as has been the case over the last couple of days, mystery.

The week started reasonably uneventfully (which believe me, can actually be a good thing). First time mum was feeding the chicks and sitting with them in the sunshine. Dad was seen sitting out on his favourite perches, keeping an eye out for threats and bringing in fish for the family. Until he wasn’t.
All day Tuesday we didn’t see him. Not a glimpse of glossy brown or a flash of white. Where could he be? Mum found an old bit of fish in the nest with which to feed the chick(s), so whilst it is unusual for the male to be gone so long, there was no cause for alarm.

A family photo from a previous Bassenthwaite brood.

Wednesday dawned with still no sign of dad. Mum was clearly getting antsy and as the second day wore on, faced a choice. At two weeks old, the chicks are still a little small to be left alone on the nest, but they also need to eat. She could go and try to bring in fish herself, but in doing so, leave the chicks at risk of being predated, or she could sit and wait. But for how long? There have been females that have chosen to wait, and tragically lost their chicks to starvation. As a young, inexperienced bird, we really had no idea what she would do.
With a hungry brood pecking away at her feet, mum decided on very short forays along the nearby beck and over the end of the lake before returning quickly to sit with the chicks once again. Each time, we crossed our fingers and toes that lady luck would smile on her. Finally, just after lunch, SUCCESS! I am not ashamed to say we may have cheered a little when we saw that silvery snack clasped tight in her talons. She made short work of lunch, diligently feeding the chick(s) before taking some for herself.

A beautiful day in the valley and some good fishing conditions helped mum out

Thoughts turned to the mystery of where dad might have got to? Perhaps there had been a tenacious intruder on the nest early the previous day and dad was busy trying to drive it away? It seems we may never know for certain, but I am pleased to report that late on Wednesday, dad came winging his way home across the water. Though he didn’t exactly get the warmest welcome as mums first reaction seemed to be quite similar to ours;
“Where an earth have you been?!”
But he is home. A little worse for wear, lending support to the intruder theory, but safe. It didn’t take him long to catch himself a fish supper, which he devoured with relish. This is great news for the whole family and we hope dad will resume his normal duties tomorrow, bringing in plenty of food to smooth over any ruffled feathers.
As always it is a privilege to get a glimpse into the lives of these fascinating birds and their struggle to survive and raise chicks and times like this are no exception. I for one think mum deserves a round of applause, after all, not all hero’s wear capes!

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