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All clear for Lakes osprey chicks

Last modified: 07 July 2015

Mallachie about to be returned to nest

Image: Stewart Taylor

The future is looking bright for the latest pair of Lakes osprey chicks after they passed a health check with flying colours.

The pair – thought to be a male and a female – were both ringed by a leading team of experts last week.  Members of the Lake District Osprey Project (LDOP) had hoped the birds would also each be fitted with a small satellite tracker, to enable the team to follow the birds’ progress once they leave Bassenthwaite. However, experts decided to only fit a tracker to the male bird, as the female was slightly too small in size.

Nathan Fox, of the LDOP, said: “We are delighted to have been able to give the chicks a health check and we are really pleased both birds are doing well.

“It is a shame we couldn’t fit a satellite tag on the female, due to her smaller size, but at least she is healthy, which is the most important thing. We have had to carry out the ringing a little earlier this year, which has meant the birds are slightly smaller than when we carried out the ringing last year.

“Both birds were weighed, and their wings and tails measured, before they were ringed by a team of experts led by Roy Dennis MBE, Britain’s leading authority on ospreys. The male bird was fitted with a blue VO ring, while the female was fitted with a blue V1 ring, both on their right legs, which is chosen for English ospreys, and also each fitted a BTO ring on their left legs.

“Now the satellite tracker has been fitted to the male, we will be able to follow him all the way to Africa hopefully. By using these trackers over the years, we have discovered a wealth of information, such as how fast the birds are flying, where they are feeding and where they are roosting. It really is exciting to follow the ospreys and we expect them to leave here around the end of August.”

Following the health check, the chicks were returned to the nest immediately after.

Nathan added: “All the procedures were carried out under rigorous government licence by experts who have undergone years of training. It’s important to remember the disturbance of ospreys on the nest is an offence, and those responsible for disturbing the birds may be liable for prosecution, so the best and only place to see the birds are from the viewpoints at Dodd Wood or Whinlatter Visitor Centre.”

This is the 15th year of successful hatching for the Lakes ospreys, with more than 30 chicks raised since the project began in 2001. It is also the third year of raising chicks for ringed female KL and the unringed male, believed to be the same male which has returned to Bassenthwaite with KL for the third year running. 

To watch the ospreys, visitors can join a dedicated team of staff and volunteers at the viewpoint at Dodd Wood every day from 10 am – 5 pm until the end of August, and at Whinlatter Visitor Centre every day from 10 am – 5 pm, where visitors can watch live nest cam images on flat screen televisions.

Osprey fans around the world can keep an eye on the action from the nest by following the webcam on the LDOP homepage www.ospreywatch.co.uk and get the latest news at www.ospreywatch.co.uk, at www.facebook.com/ospreywatch, or by following on Twitter @lakelandosprey.

To help support the project, which has attracted more than one million visitors since it started, people can also now donate at www.justgiving.com/lakesospreys

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