About Us

About The Project

The Lake District Osprey Project is a partnership between the Forestry Commission, Lake District National Park and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) with fantastic support from many volunteers. The partnership aims to ensure the continued success of breeding ospreys at Bassenthwaite; to assist with natural colonisation elsewhere in the Lakes; and to provide visitors to the Lakes with the opportunity to see and find out more about ospreys and other wildlife sharing their habitat.

Ospreys Return to Cumbria

The return of ospreys to Bassenthwaite Lake in 2001 was the culmination of several years hard work behind the scenes to encourage them to breed. As sightings of birds on migration increased in the late 90s, so did the thought that one day these birds might breed once again. It was with this aim in mind that the Lake District Osprey Project partners built a nest platform in Wythop Woods overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake.

In 2001, all the hard work paid off and amid great excitement a pair of ospreys took to the platform and nested, successfully rearing one chick. For the first time in over 150 years, and as a result of natural re-colonisation, ospreys had been recorded nesting successfully in the Lake District!

The ospreys have returned every year since, swapping to a different nest site in Dodd Wood and then to one on the valley floor. This year, 2019, they have moved closer to the lake. They have successfully raised at least one chick and often two chicks each year.

Funding

Currently, the project is funded by visitor donations, and support from the Nurture Lakeland, but operates at a loss which is shared by the Forestry Commission, RSPB and Lake District National Park .

If you would like to discuss ways in which you could help in the funding of the project, please contact Nathan Fox.

The project would like to thank the BBC, Viking Optical, and the Tourism and Conservation Partnership for their continued support.

Impacts and Achievements

In June 2008 the achievements and impacts of the Lake District Osprey Project were reviewed by Natural Economy Northwest in a Case Study. In summary the study found the following key achievements.

  • Re colonisation of Lake District habitat by rare species.
  • Raised awareness of wildlife and bio diversity.
  • Increased environmental tourism: more than 500,000 visitors to that date.
  • New employment in bio diversity and in tourism industry.
  • Increased economic activity to sustain rural communities.
  • Improved public transport, reducing car travel.

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Recent Posts

No 14 and some research – handsome, talonted, why no mate?

The map shows No 14’s movements in S Lakes, fishing in the estuary with occasional visits to Pennington reservoir to the west. 

No 14 has not found a mate this year, again and he has rarely been seen visiting the site in South Lakes where we felt he might settle, so:

Our licensed ringer and osprey expert has been trying to discover if the fact that white 14, at the age of 7 years and has not started breeding yet is unusual or if the fact that he is still carrying the satellite tag is having an influence on his breeding capabilities.

To this end he has asked the folk who have worked with the Rutland osprey population which started breeding in the same year as the Lakeland birds and also Roy Dennis who has been involved with Ospreys, including satellite tagging, for many years in Scotland and elsewhere what information they have on the ages that ospreys have started to breed and whether any birds carrying satellite tags have bred successfully.

This is the information/data that they have sent through to him. It’s extremely interesting to know about other ospreys and the ages they start to breed and those others carrying sat tag successfully raising chicks

With regard to the age of breeding males, there have been two males in the Rutland Water population that bred for the first time aged 11 and 14 respectively.

So there is no doubt that some birds have to wait a considerable time to breed.

This year there is an 8 year-old male that is breeding for the first time, and a 7 year-old male that is yet to pair up.

So on this data there is still time and hope that white 14 will breed in the future

There are numerous examples of satellite-tagged birds breeding successfully. Notable examples include:

  • Female Yellow 30 raised eight chicks between 2015-2019 at a nest near Rutland Water after being tagged as an adult in 2013. The tag then fell off last winter and she has returned to breed again this year.
  • One of Roy’s satellite-tagged females, Beatrice, bred each year from 2009-2015 after being tagged as an adult in 2008.
  • Satellite-tagged female Morven bred between 2009 and 2018 while carrying a satellite transmitter. The transmitter was then removed and she continues to return to Scotland.
  • Another of Roy’s satellite-tagged birds, Nimrod (male), raised five chicks between 2008 and 2011 while carrying a satellite tag.
  • A further six satellite-tagged males and two females have bred successfully in Scotland in recent years, plus two males at Rutland Water.

There is no evidence that satellite transmitters have ever stopped birds breeding. 

So to conclude, there is no way that the satellite transmitter is the issue with White 14 and there are still several years left for him to settle down and raise some chicks.

 

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