Pair of Ospreys take up residence in South Cumbria

The Westmorland Gazette: A picture from the camera overlooking the nest at Foulshaw Moss
A picture from the camera overlooking the nest at Foulshaw Moss

Bird watchers from far and wide have been keeping their eyes on the skies for a glimpse of the Bassenthwaite ospreys since they began nesting in 2001 in the northern Lake District. But now a pair of Osprey have been seen in the far south of the county in the Levens Valley near Witherslack.

John Dunbavin, reserve manager at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve, said the ospreys arrived from Africa in early April. He is hopeful that the site will get its first chicks later this year and has set up a blog so those interested can follow any progress throughout the season.

John said the incubation period was around 35 days and so far the female had been sitting on the nest containing a clutch of eggs for 10 days.

Cameras overlook the nest and relay pictures via mobile phone signal back to Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s offices.

The images show that the male has a white ring on his right leg, indicating he was hatched at the Bassenthwaite nest in 2008. Remarkably the female has a right blue leg ring and was hatched from a second nest in Kielder Forest in 2010.

John said the prime age for females to breed was between the ages of three and five. “It is an ideal site for nesting,” added John.

“There’s a large expanse of raised bog and it is close to the River Kent and Morecambe Bay – a great source of food for the fish-eating birds.

“Ospreys are a real spectacle – there aren’t many sites in the UK where you can guarantee seeing them.

“Even if they do hatch they have got to survive potentially poor weather and predators.

“It’s not until they fledge that it will be a success.”

Osprey-Platform

Image Cumbrian Wildlife Trust

Our pair of birds have decided for the second year to make their nesting home on a ready built platform. The artifical nest is located high up in a tree right in the middle of the very, very wet, deep peat bog.

Watching the professional tree climbers build the nest was a joy. They were so skilled swinging from limb to limb, a real art! A frame is fixed to the tree first using thin planks of wood, and then a sheet of steel mesh is fixed to the frame as a platform.

The artificial nest is then built using bundles of sticks, all tied together with cable ties. Then the nest is filled with grass and moss and the final touches include daubing white paint around to look as though it has been used.

You can follow John Dunbavin’s blog at: www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/blog/foulshaw-moss-osprey-viewpoint.

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