Following an uncertain start to the season, the famous Bassenthwaite ospreys have delighted staff, volunteers and visitors at the Lake District Osprey Project (LDOP), as the new female is showing signs of having laid eggs.
The bird has been seen shuffling around on the nest – behaviour which is an encouraging sign that she laid at least one egg, giving hope for a successful 2019 season, following disappointment in 2018.
Becky Read from the LDOP said: “Last year we had an interesting time as our regular female of five years, known as ‘KL’ sadly didn’t return to Bassenthwaite Lake. Our usual male, known as ‘Unring’ (due to the fact he hasn’t got an identifying leg ring) came back but was without a mate. Several female ospreys showed an interest, and he mated with one female in particular, but unfortunately no eggs were laid.”
“This year, Unring has returned for his seventh season and it was unclear whether he would find a partner. We were delighted when he was joined by a new, unringed female and the pair have spent the past two weeks mating. With this new female being an unknown osprey, we had no idea whether the pair would produce any eggs this season, so we’re thrilled that we have seen her displaying shuffling behaviour at the nest, which is a positive indicator that she is sitting on at least one egg. We’re hoping it is the start of another successful breeding season for the popular ospreys of Bassenthwaite and we will be watching eagle-eyed, as the drama unfolds.”
Ospreys use sticks to build nests that are about the size of a double bed and these are commonly made on special tree-top platforms which are installed to encourage breeding. A number of these osprey platforms have been erected in locations around Bassenthwaite Lake and it is the female osprey who chooses the site. The new female has chosen to use a different nest platform to the one used by the previous female ‘KL.’
Becky added: “The new nest site they have chosen is nearer to the viewpoints at Dodd Wood, so our visitors are being treated to closer views of these spectacular birds of prey.”
A dedicated team of staff and volunteers can be found at the osprey viewpoints at Dodd Wood which are open every day from 10am-5pm until the end of August.
The Lake District Osprey Viewpoint at Forestry England’s Dodd Wood gives open-air viewing of the birds and will be staffed until September. It is located, 3 miles north of Keswick, off the A591 – follow signs to Mirehouse.
To help support the project, which has attracted more than 1.5 million visitors since it started, people can also donate at justgiving.com/lakesospreys
The Lake District Osprey Project is a partnership between Forestry England, the RSPB and the Lake District National Park.