Monday, 6 June 2011

Bird Sightings: Osprey chicks hatch in Welsh valley for first time in 400 years

The new osprey chicks in the Dyfi valley
The new osprey chicks in the Dyfi valley

By Sally Williams
TWO osprey chicks have hatched in a picturesque Welsh valley for the first time in more than 400 years, wildlife watchers have confirmed
The Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust have announced that the Dyfi ospreys near Machynlleth, sired their first chick at 3.35pm yesterday and a second chick hatched at 6.35am on Monday.
Dyfi Osprey Project manager, Emyr Evans said: “This is a wondrous event for us and for the ospreys.
“It was in 1604 that ospreys were last recorded breeding on the Dyfi and now we are witnessing history in the making.
“It’s incredible to think that the last time an osprey chick hatched in the Dyfi estuary, James I had just succeeded Elizabeth I to the throne.
“The osprey is Wales’ rarest bird of prey and today we are delighted to be able to say that Wales has two breeding pairs.
“I’m absolutely delighted about ospreys breeding on the Dyfi once again.
“We run our project as a community initiative and the look on the volunteers’ and visitors’ faces when they witnessed that first tiny chick popping out of its shell was priceless.
“It’s amazing how wildlife can have such a positive effect on people.
“I’ve seen grown men cry today.
“I’m so pleased for local people and communities that have put so much into the Dyfi Osprey Project over the last three years, this is the perfect reward for their hard work.”
He said more than 60 volunteers donate their time to the Dyfi Osprey Project and over 15,000 people have visited this year so far.
The male osprey, called Monty, mated this year for the first time with a female born in Leicester’s wildlife reserve.
“After a gap of many centuries, ospreys were also in Montgomeryshire in 2004 and the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust believe that the Dyfi male osprey called Monty, might well be the single offspring that this pair had in that year,” said Mr Evans.
“But the pair failed to return the following year.
“Monty the male osprey had gone two years without attracting a female in time to breed but this year he has been successful.
“He returned from his African wintering grounds on April 6 and three days later, he had attracted a female.
“This new osprey had been ringed as a chick so we know exactly where she is from just by focusing the nest cameras on her ring and reading the numbers off it; it is a white ring with the digits 03.
“She was born at another Wildlife Trust reserve, Leicester and Rutland Wildlife Trust in 2008 and her father is a 1997 born bird who is still breeding at Rutland Water and has fathered 23 chicks to date.”
After centuries of persecution, ospreys had become completely extinct in the UK by the early 20th century.
A pair re-colonised at Loch Garten near Aviemore in the 1950s and the population in Scotland is now recovering; in England however there are only three osprey breeding sites.
The first Glaslyn Osprey chick hatched near Porthmadog on May 9.