A freezing swirl of snow, a dash of ice-filled wind and a slap of chilly white waves opened the osprey season at Bassenthwaite Lake. A recurring comment, regarding the weather and non-arrival of our ospreys today, went along the lines of Senegal 10 Bassenthwaite 0.
However, as we know, cold in itself does not deter ospreys; in one past year first evidence of our pair’s arrival was their footprints in the thick layer of snow covering the nest! Adverse wind may halt their flight for some time. For example, birds will often stay for days on the North coast of Spain waiting for a favourable wind to cross the Bay of Biscay. Breeding condition is also an important consideration in whether an individual will make haste in reaching journey’s end or linger to feed itself up somewhere en route.
The major factor though in the variability of arrival date is just the huge distance. Even assuming a travel start some time in early March no-one could possibly predict exactly how long a flight of 3000 to 4000 miles might take. The miracle is that they arrive at all.
(At least 2 passage birds have been seen in the area in the past 5 days)