About Us

About The Project, 2001 to 2020

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. In 2019, they 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

Eggs! A chilly start to season this year’s clutch.

Picture from a previous year – showing a full clutch of 3 eggs

The Bassenthwaite birds have done it again. On Saturday 10th April the behaviour of the birds changed with both looking a little uncomfortable. The female stood hunched in the nest whilst the male flew around with a fish – but her mind was on higher things!!

Here’s an on-the-spot account by one of the watchers:-

‘There was one bird standing hunched on the edge of the nest looking about. After a time it sat down in the nest with only its head visible. At about 3:30 another osprey flew by carrying a fish. It did not stop at the nest, but flew round a couple of times then went off towards the south. The other bird stood up and looked about, but did  not leave the nest. I stayed for about another ½ hour, and nothing further happened. It then started to snow and got very cold, so I came home.’

By Sunday it seemed that the first egg had been laid although mating continued – a sure sign that more eggs are on the way. Eggs are laid at 2 day intervals and so her clutch will have been completed sometime in the middle of that week. She is now sitting tightly.

Crossed fingers for the next month of sitting.

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