Simply Simpsons – no 14



Has our wandering lad settled on a site? It looks like there’s particularly good tree to roost on or fish off. Ospreys hunt by sight and use their talons to catch their prey. This means that they hunt over shallow water, as they have to be able to reach into the depths with their long legs for fishing spears. Characteristically they hover over a chosen patch and then folding their wings back, dive head first towards the water, their eyes locked on to their prey. At the last second their feet swing forward and they plunge in feeling for the fleeing fish with their four toes and clutching with terrible talons.

Back on Bassenthwaite there is still a roller coaster of sightings as young and unmated birds fly in and fly out. Every day one or two birds are spotted singly or together at various locations from the Dodd viewpoints. Usually one of the birds is Unring, although he is off fishing for part of the day. Sometimes this is in full view of the Dodd telescopes and sometimes to the North end of the Lake, or local reservoirs. Without a mate he is fancy free to go where he wants.

Depending on the gender of the visitor he is still carrying nest material around – as much for display purposes as nest construction. He has been seen putting material into a couple of sites, other than the nest. Last week he caused watchers consternation as he managed to snag a large piece of black plastic from the Lake side. He has gathered environmentally unfriendly material before, but never of such a size. It trailed from his talons like a malevolent kite tail threatening to drag him into the water. Then as he gained height the wind took over and buffeted him and his dark luggage, reminding us of just how light even a large bird is. Eventually he disappeared into trees and we were left wondering for some time if he had been able to disentangle himself, or whether we might need to lead a rescue mission. Luckily, he appeared sans plastic a while later, but it was a chilling reminder that our plastic pollution can kill in all sorts of ways.