Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Ospreys lay three eggs at Kielder Forest, Northumberland

by Tony Henderson

BIRDS of prey once extinct in the region have produced three eggs for the third year in a row at their Northumberland nest.
Nature experts have said the pair of ospreys living at Kielder Water and Forest Park have been seen turning the eggs.
The two birds – reunited 10 days later than last year because the female met stormy weather on her migration route from Africa – have made up for lost time and, it is hoped, will produce another brood of healthy chicks.
The mother has been seen keeping the eggs warm on live video footage beamed to Kielder Castle from a Forestry Commission nest camera.
The father has also been seen sticking to his duties by keeping her well fed and bringing back trout.
The new dad has also been seen taking a modern approach to parenting by taking his turn to sit on the eggs for a couple of hours each day.

Martin Davison, Forestry Commission ornithologist, said: “Getting another three eggs is fabulous news. This is the critical time as once eggs hatch there’s a very good chance the chicks will fledge.
“Kielder is key for the bird’s fortunes as it is one of only two locations in England where the once-extinct creature has naturally recolonised.
“Every chick born on Northumbrian soil increases the likelihood that it will spread to other parts of the country.”
Nothing is known about the fate of the six osprey chicks previously reared by the Kielder couple, the first of their kind in the county for more than 200 years.
However, that could be set to change. The ospreys born in 2009 are likely to return to the UK for the first time this summer. All of them were tagged and experts will be scouring sighting records to see if they have made it back.
Kevin Hudson, Northumbrian Water leisure manager, said: “Although young ospreys lack the homing instinct of their parents, who will continue to return to the Kielder nest all being well, chicks may well make a beeline for the general Borders area as there’s plenty of habitat and good fishing, especially in Kielder Water.
“These are really exciting times watching a star of the animal kingdom puts down roots in Kielder Water & Forest Park.”
Visitors can view the birds on the nest two miles away through high-powered telescopes at Leaplish Waterside Park with volunteer experts on weekends from May 28 until July 31 and selected other dates.

There will also be osprey talks on the 2.15pm Sunday ferry service from Leaplish Waterside Park and visitors may even see the birds fishing, on the service from May 29 to July 31.
To find out more go to