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.


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.


Recent Posts

Home and Abroad

Home and Abroad 11

 At Home

In these strange times it is easier to find out what a single bird is doing half way across the globe than it is to find out what is happening in your own back Yard, or Lake!

The Lake District Osprey Project is lucky in that one of the Rangers has his house in Whinlatter forest and has been able to use his hour’s exercise on some days to monitor what is going on in the Bassenthwaite Valley. Volunteers living around the Lake side have also been reporting their sightings. But there is no doubt that this information is fragmentary compared with the daylong watches that have been the norm over the last 20 years from Dodd.

So, to round up what we know so far – For the past 10 days osprey activity has been seen, with two birds flying and mating around the nest platforms near the Lake. Were they passage birds or previous residents?  Repeated sightings have led us to think they are possibly/probably the pair that bred last year;  Unring, the male who first bred 2013, and a new female that turned up last year, whom we think is also unringed. Without a camera the finer details of their life this season will be curtailed. But daily observations from the Ranger, taking time to look at other osprey sites on line – we can all do this – and our own long experience should make it as usual, an interesting time.

We have had reports too of fishing at Cogra -again from a local resident using the hour’s exercise usefully.

This clip was taken on March 30th by Lee

A large Rainbow trout!

(If you don’t do Facebook, look at the picture of Cogra above and imagine.)


And Abroad

There are two maps that show no 14 setting off cross country early morning on April 3rd. At 05.53 crossing over the Canal du Berry near the villages of Augy sur Aubois and Nueilly en Dun  and at 08.19  near St Armand Mont Rond.  It would take an hour and 28 mins cycling, so he’s taking his time.

This is an area that no 14 knows well – if we believe that ospreys hold maps within their heads. And talking of holding maps in heads or within the ‘brain’ of the internet, here’s a couple who take human migration and perambulation beautifully. This will be the sort of view that No 14 saw, from their pictures along the Canal.


In past years he has slowed his flight down around both here and spent time feeding and resting at the Lac du Mont Belier, a bit further South. This little highland Lake looks a bit like Cogra Moss , in slightly more wooded agricultural setting. Pete says that it is favoured by passage ospreys  – so must have a good fish supply and is also only a day’s journey from  that area of France holding their greatest number of breeding ospreys.

Looking at other ospreys’ flight patterns we’ve seen that many of them will spend time, perhaps only a day or two’s flight from ‘home’, just loafing around, after marathon flights over Africa and Europe. Is this to do with wind direction, or that they are not in full breeding condition, or simply feeling a bit tired? Making a decision to rest but not getting back to your nest territory in good time is a bit of a gamble it would seem. On the plus side, when you do arrive you will be full of vim and vigour, ready to start off the breeding season. However, other hopeful ospreys may have arrived before you and be making themselves at home in your territory, possibly with your partner. There will inevitably then be a lot of energy expended on regaining the ground you have lost or perhaps being driven off.

However, even if you have staked your claim, others may challenge that and yesterday  after a large bird with a white flash on its wing was spotted further down the Bassenthwaite valley in the morning our Ranger watched an aerial battle  in the afternoon as an intruder osprey attempted to land on the chosen nest platform of the pair. He did not succeed. Hah!



  1. Massif Central – No 14 Fire and water Leave a reply
  2. Jet-setting to France Leave a reply
  3. Skimming over Sardinia Leave a reply
  4. Time in Tunisia Leave a reply
  5. Algeria -The Grand Erg Oriental Desert Leave a reply
  6. Sahel Stop-overs – No 14 continues Leave a reply
  7. Flying to a Different Beat Leave a reply
  8. Hogs and Logs Leave a reply
  9. 2020 and 4000 miles to go Leave a reply