Have you seen an osprey?

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Have you seen an osprey?

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I know that ospreys are REALLY popular with RSPB supporters, so hopefully Conor Jameson’s piece in the Autumn 2012 issue of Birds on a lingering bird at RSPB HQ at The Lodge went down well.

You might have read about my own experiences with that particular bird on this blog during the time it was around. It was certainly a treat to have one at my place of work, although seeing it wasn’t a given as it ranged over a big area. I even managed to show Birds designer, Joel this long-staying bird (read about it here).

I’ve seen ospreys all around the world from Cuba and the Philippines to Kenya and Canada, but my favourite experiences have been with birds in the beautiful Scottish Highlands - one of my favourite areas in the world. I really must get back up there soon! I remember taking a college study tour to Aviemore and was astounded to see up to 10 ospreys gathering at the fish farm in the evenings. I also remember travelling beside a Scottish Loch as one plunge-dived into the water right alongside the bus, emerging with a shiny trout in its talons. The fabulous photo below was sent to me by Birds reader Julian Heyes. These ospreys were nesting near the Red Sea in Egypt.

I live next to Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire and although ospreys don’t breed there, two birds were hanging around one evening in early July when I was there – an unusual time of year for ospreys to appear on migration in my part of the word (it’s usually late August and September). Both birds were fishing actively in this big man-made reservoir. I’m hoping that they are immature birds whiling away the summer months and will perhaps return to breed at some point soon.

Have you seen one?

So, as osprey migration starts to get underway soon, I hope you get lucky and see one near you.

I'd love to know about your experiences with ospreys. And if you haven’t seen one in the flesh, don't worry. I know that lots of you follow the Loch Garten ospreys avidly – whether it’s reading the fantastic blog from the team there, watching the live webcam of the nest, or waiting with baited breath for the latest update on the birds’ migrations after they have been satellite tracked to Africa - so please let us know what you love about them so much by posting a comment below!

  • Thanks Bezant and Rob - good to hear from fellow osprey fans. I'll be hoping to catch up with Rutland Water's breeding ospreys when I visit the BirdFair next Friday. I'm still willing one to fly up the river valley that I can see from my garden though, so I'm very envious of your garden bird Rob!

    PS. I think I can remember the summer of 2012, although it's not been too bad here at RSPB HQ in Bedfordshire today. The sun was out for at least a couple of hours...

  • I enjoyed Conor Jameson's article.  OK he wasn't there for the 1950s Loch Garten all-nighters, nor was I but as a late '60s & early 70's volunteer it's particularly pleasing to tell of my best sighting this year.  When hanging up the washing before breakfast during what we had of summer at the end of March (remember?), the local gulls alerted me to an osprey flying gently north at treetop height.  Not a bad record for a suburban garden!  I can think of no better credit to the RSPB's efforts in helping these magnificent birds re-establish themselves here.  Rob Mann, Edinburgh

  • My husband and I (sorry to sound like the Queen!) were out for a walk on 5th May 2012 on a footpath overlooking Alresford Creek, a tributory of the River Colne in Essex. We had stopped to listen to and try to spot some Nightingales that were singing so prettily. Eyes straining into the holly bush desperately trying to see one I took a silent step to my left and turned a complete 90 degrees to whisper into my husbands left ear.  Was so glad I had, as over his shoulder flew a huge Osprey and not only that he had just caught an eel from the creek and had it securely captured in his claws. We watched him for a several minutes as he flew along the footpath looking for a suitable perch to enjoy his dinner. We felt so lucky to have seen him/her as if I hadn't turned we wouldn't have been aware of the very special visitor flying just behind us, that is occasionally spotted in this part of the world on their long migration. Afterwards we had a good chuckle thinking of all the birds we have missed that fly behind us as we walk along.

  • Fantastic photographs of young ospreys being ringed and fitted with satellite tags at Loch Garten and at the Glaslyn and Lake District Date With Nature projects on the "A date with nature blog". Cut and paste the links below into your browser to see them. Enjoy!