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High definition cameras are giving experts the first close up views of pioneering ospreys in Kielder Water & Forest Park, Northumberland.
The dramatic footage shows a female osprey calling for a fish and pacing her nest soon before laying two eggs on an artificial platform put up by the Forestry Commission in the 62,000 hectare (155,000 acre) wilderness.
Pictures - being beamed live to Kielder Castle Visitor Centre – also revealed that her male partner has an identification tag after being ringed as a chick. Rangers are now trawling through the records to track down his origins.
Elisabeth Rowark, Director of the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, said:
“The pictures are stunning. Last year the couple bred for the first time so we didn't have cameras on them. But over the winter the Forestry Commission has erected a CCTV link to reveal daily story of osprey family life.”
News from Kielder’s other nest – which in 2009 produced the first osprey born in North East England in at least two centuries – is also excellent. CCTV has spied three eggs in the tree top eerie.
Martin Davison, Forestry Commission ornithologist, explained:
“We are excited by what we are seeing. The female on the new nest is pretty noisy, staying put even before laying eggs to guard the site from other ospreys. That means the male must catch fish for her. Getting such a clear view of the male's white tag is also a massive bonus. Knowing where he was born will help us chart the recolonisation of this once extinct species back into England. These are incredibly exciting times for everyone who loves these fish-eating superstars.”
New nest footage can be seen and downloaded at https://vimeo.com/41199271
You can also follow the fortunes of both nests at http://kielderospreys.wordpress.com and get regular Twitter updates @KielderOspreys To record your own osprey sightings go to the VisitKielder Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/kielder
Kielder Osprey Watch 2012 is being organised by the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, the RSPB and Northumberland Wildlife Trust.
The partners are working hard to ensure that the ospreys are here to stay by maintaining a high quality habitat in Kielder Water & Forest Park and safeguarding and monitoring the nest site. To find out more go to www.visitkielder.com
NOTES TO EDITOR
- Historically ospreys lived in Northumberland, hunting on the once extensive network of marshes. However, records going back more than 200 years fail to mention any ospreys breeding in the county. Ospreys were once distributed widely, but persecution resulted in the species becoming extinct in England as a breeding bird in 1847 and in Scotland in 1916. Some birds re-colonised Scotland in 1954s and by 2001 there were nearly 160 breeding pairs (today about 200). The same year saw the first successful osprey nests in England for 160 years by re-colonising birds in the Lake District and re-introduced ones at Rutland Water in the East Midlands.
- Osprey Fact File:
Ospreys are migratory and arrive in late March and April and leave again for Africa in August and September.
The bird is an Amber List species because of its historical decline (due to illegal killing and egg theft) and low breeding numbers.
Ospreys normally breed for the first time when they are aged between 4-5 years old.
Nests are generally built on the top of a large tree. Females lay two or three eggs at 1-3 day intervals which are incubated for about 38 - 42 days per egg. Chicks fledge about seven weeks after hatching.
- Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust (KWFPDT) is a registered charity working to develop the Park as an inspirational place for leisure, exploration and fun. Members, who have appointed directors/trustees to serve on the board, are Northumbrian Water, Forestry Commission, Calvert Trust Kielder and Northumberland County Council. Affiliate organisations that are not members but have a close working relationship with KWFPDT include Arts Council England, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, The Scout Association and local decision making bodies such as the parish councils.
- Northumberland Wildlife Trust is the largest environmental charity in the region working to safeguard native wildlife. One of 47 Wildlife Trusts across the UK, Northumberland Wildlife Trust has campaigned for nature conservation for over 40 years. It aims to inform, educate and involve people of all ages and backgrounds in protecting their environment in favour of wildlife and conservation. Supported by over 13,000 individual and 56 corporate members in the Region, Northumberland Wildlife Trust manages and protects critical species and habitats at over 60 nature reserves throughout Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.
- The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. We believe that nature is amazing and want people to help us keep it that way. We are the largest wildlife conservation organisation in Europe with over one million members. Wildlife and the environment face many threats. Our work is focussed on the species and habitats that are in the greatest danger.
Media calls to: Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.