The last leg for no 14

Pond Piece, Pattiswick Hall farms halfway between Braintree and Tiptree Essex at 7pm on April 16th

At last the North is calling! The blandishments of Tiptree jam in could not hold him!  No 14 has made his way across the Pennines and on the evening of the 19th he was on the River Lune south of Kirkby Lonsdale.

Globe v Home trotting

Here are no 14’s movements over the last six days. Perhaps, like many of us he has realised that with the opportunities he has for globe trotting he hasn’t thoroughly explored his home country. Certainly there seems to be no particular pull towards claiming a territory or settling down for this carefree bachelor.

With the temperature hitting 18C at 20.00 hours up at Whinlatter yesterday evening surely this is a sign of Spring. Maybe the start of flocks of little migrants, willow warblers, chiff chaffs, swallows martins, will mean a few more wandering ospreys touching down.

KL not KLamity yet!

Time keeps creeping on and we are now in mid-April. These are the questions everyone is asking.

Where is KL? Is it too late to expect her back?  Is there a chance she has survived?

Where is KL? – the short answer is that  we do not know. She does not have a satellite tracker (unlike her son No14) so we cannot pinpoint her position or what date she might have started the migration (No 14 started on March 19th). We know her roosting spot is in Senegal in the Sine Saloum Delta and thus her probable flight path follows the desert coast of Africa through Spain and France to home. She has a white ring on her right leg but unless someone sharp eyed with good optics picks this up and bothers to send in the sighting we are no further forward.

Is it too late to expect her back? Not at all. The time it takes to migrate depends very much on wind and weather. As we know the strong easterly winds have effected the whole of Europe and many migrants will have battled or just decided to rest up until certain of kindly winds. Waiting though means they will need to spend time to replenish their fat reserves to resume the journey.

This year statistics from the other observed nests in the UK all point to many individuals who have not turned up yet. Usually between 8% and 10% of adult ospreys do not make it each year. This year about 25% are missing. It seems unlikely that all of these will have perished (although being blown out into the Atlantic will have been a very real danger!). Lastly, In their first year both Unring and KL arrived on April 24th and this is not the latest date recorded overall by a long chalk.

Is there a chance she has survived?  The journey is the single greatest factor in the mortality rate of osprey. Think of all the hazards and it is amazing that any find their way at all. KL is now 9 years old, an experienced traveller and in her prime. What we do know from osprey behaviour is that if it is at all possible for her to make the journey she will continue trying.

From Unring’s behaviour he is still on the look out for her, spending yesterday nest building and sitting as a watchman on the topmost branch of the nest tree.

So, this is what a good home looks like to Unring, a cosy bunk, his lovely lady and good food. Worth waiting for!









Villas and Temples for the Culture Vulture


Le Toquet-Paris-Plage – in the early 1900’s home of the English literary smart set including HG Wells, Noel Coward and PG Wodehouse. Architect designed villas lie behind the sand dunes but for No 14 lingering there the attraction for a smart bird is in the name  – must be a plage with poissons.

11.04.2018 Then a leisurely drift down the coast to the lazy braided mouth of the Somme River.

12.04 At last he crosses the Channel and flies across Kent and the mouth.of the Thames and on North West into Leicestershire. On his way home? Oh no our bird’s not done yet. He got to the outskirts of Leicester before turning sharply south west to visit to visit Sezincote estate in the Cotswolds, perhaps attracted by the green pergola of the Mughal temple or perhaps the green waters of Sezincote Lake.


Bs0u10e01 Wikipedia

Back on Bassenthwaite :- Still no KL and the other affaire is still more off than on.

Blue Bird’s Over

How lucky is it to be able to view the ospreys from your own house?                         Even better when the household comes up to Whinlatter to report the sighting and check out the CCTV footage. This morning 3 birds were spotted over the marsh in just such a manner.

One of course was Unring, one probably his off/on female, but who was the other? We didn’t have to wait long before a skirl of wings heralded yet another stranger bird ganging doon on the nest. Distinguished by broad dark line down the back of its head it may have been either a bonnie lad or lassie. We knew instantly it must be a Scottish bird as it had a blue colour ring on its left leg. (English and Welsh birds have their colour rings on the right)

All we needed to do was to read the white lettering and we would ken its age, where it was hatched and perhaps where it is nesting. We watched avidly as it contentedly shuffled about the nest cup, picking up a bit of moss here, laying down a bit of stick there and looking lazily out at the view. But its legs showed as coyly as white sheep in a Scots mist, hidden either by its feathers or by the deep bed of pale dry grass. After 15 mins of pop-eyed concentration from staff and visitors it flew off – probably over the Border and never to be seen again – leaving nothing but a wee snippet of film showing a blue blur with a mark that could have been an X or a Y or a V.

No 14 has got going again and at the last download yesterday was at Le Toquet, North France ready to cross the channel. Look out Angleterre!

The film below looks hopeful, but if you look carefully the hit and miss aspect of the new relationship is very obvious. Unring is going through the actions but is unsuccessful in the deed.

No 14 Powers onwards

Yesterday the team went up to Dodd to see if there were any signs of KL and Unring – but no. However No 14 still flies onwards using a direct route this year and 2 days ago crossed the border into the South of Algeria.

Here is the Weather in Laghouat,, central Algeria today


Temperature  50°
  • RealFeel®: 41°
  • Winds: 21mph NNW
  • Precipitation: 0 in

14 - 25,03,18.jpg 2

2018 – Start Date

Great news – our satellite tagged osprey No 14 has started his migration back to the UK, which means that probably his parents KL and Unring are also on their way. We are keeping our eyes open for them, although it may be some days before No 14 arrives as he has a 4000 mile journey from Bioko, Equatorial Guinea rather than the shorter 3000 miles from Senegal where KL spends her winter.

For human beings the Lake District Osprey Project will open on Good Friday this year. Opening times are 10.00 to 17.00 at both Dodd Viewpoints and Whinlatter Visitor Centre.

14 as of 21st March 2018

Here is the latest map from 21st March showing No 14 flying across Nigeria.

What has he got Toulouse?

No14 moved away from the Nevers area of the Loire on the 24th September and then spent a couple of days just north of the Pyrenees in France, passing over Toulouse, before moving down through the eastern side of Spain.

On September 28th he crossed over the Mediterranean from Murcia in Spain to near Mellila in Spanish North Africa.  Mellila, although surrounded by Morocco is in fact an autonomous Spanish city, and has been since the 15th century. No 14 will be one of the many entities that pass through as Mellila is a destination for refugees attempting to cross the other way into the European Union. Of more interest to him may be is that the area is also a surfing destination for holidaymakers and where there is surf there is often fish!



Migration Updates

It may be the end of the human side of the project at the end of August but it is definitely not the end for our ospreys. In the seven months before they return to Bassenthwaite again their lives go on in their personal projects for survival.

We do have a couple of tools to keep us in touch with their whereabouts, a satellite tracker and leg-rings. These are vital if we are to learn anything about the global nature of these birds and to make sure that their habitats in other parts of the world are thriving and fit for their needs. Healthy waters full of healthy fish.

Our 2013 juvenile – prosaically named Number 14, has a back pack Satellite transmitter and for the last 4 years it has been sending out a steady stream of information telling us to with a few yards where he is in the world, his height above ground and how fast he is flying. His journeys have proved to be an eye opener into the distances and range of migration and also the amount of navigational decision making an individual is capable of. His winter home is in Bioko, an island off the North of Equatorial Guinea and it is to here he is now making his way.

He started his journey from his bachelor pad in the South Lakes on September 9th, flying down country to roost near Seven Springs, the source of the Thames for the night. Next day was a great hop of 182 miles. Setting off early on the 10th he flew over Eastbourne and Hastings, across the channel to landfall on the French coast  South of Bologne-sur-mer. On the 11th he swept around the West of Paris passing over Versailles.

He has since been making his way down to mid France arriving at a convenient stretch of water near Bourges on 16th. The water is obviously full of fish as he has settled for a rest there and on 20th was still moving between 3 or 4 trees around the water’s edge. Where next and when is the question?

Leg rings do not give this amount of detail, but over a large number of sightings can give accurate ideas on the broad bands of migration paths. Of course they have to be spotted and read first and then the information passed on . This year we have been particularly grateful to Jose Alvires and Alberto Benito who have photographed birds of great interest to us.

Blue 2H, a Keilder chick who attempted to breed in the North Lakes this year and was seen trying to feed our chicks when his own nest failed, was photographed fishing by Jose in Covado River Portugal.

Also from the Fowlshaw nest Blue 35, the female mate of our own White YW was seen by Alberto on the Aguilar de Campoo Reservoir in Spain.

(Follow the blue links for great pictures)

What a feast of autumn ospreys for all of us armchair travellers!