Pole position for ospreys

Wildlife lovers in Northumberland may soon have one of the best views in the country of a rare species of bird.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Northumbrian Water have installed a new nesting platform for ospreys at Bakethin Nature Reserve in Kielder Water & Forest Park.

Now as the clock is ticking down on the much anticipated and imminent return of the birds, it’s hoped the ospreys arriving back from Africa will begin to use the platform for roosting, fishing and nesting.

When ospreys nest on the platform it will bring people closer than ever to the lives of these amazing fish-eating birds, giving visitors to the Park a range of osprey viewing opportunities unrivalled in the UK.

The platform, which is on a wooded island just offshore, can be viewed from the wildlife hide at Bakethin Nature Reserve which is also home to red squirrels, crossbills and woodpeckers.

It was designed and built by THC Landscapes and Logic Manufacturing.

Kelly Hollings, Estates Officer from Northumberland Wildlife Trust, said: “This is such exciting news for the Park.

“Volunteer tree climbers topped off the platform with a network of sticks and branches to mirror the natural nest building process of wild ospreys and we’re hopeful that this will attract a new breeding pair.

“Should the birds choose to nest here, to have them in such close proximity will be a great new opportunity and a huge hit with visitors to the area.”

The iconic species – which was extinct in England for over 150 years – has bred successfully in Kielder Water & Forest Park every season since it returned to the North East in 2009.

At over 250 square miles, the mix of forest and water is perfect for the species. The ospreys feast on trout from the largest man-made lake in northern Europe, Kielder Water, and nest among England’s largest working forest.

Last year was record breaking for the Kielder ospreys with eight chicks being reared by three breeding pairs.
Activity on the nest tends to be mainly throughout July and August as the chicks hatch, are fed, learn to fly and hunt, and cameras installed in other nesting platforms will beam footage into Kielder Castle and Northumbrian Water’s Leaplish Waterside Park for visitors to enjoy.

Kielder Osprey Watch 2015 is organised by Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust and Northumberland Wildlife Trust, with support from the RSPB. 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.

To post osprey sightings go to the VisitKielder Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kielder or the Visitkielder twitter feed at www.twitter.com/visitkielder.

You can also keep up to date with the ospreys at kielderospreys.wordpress.com.

Pole position for ospreys