Tourism and conservation working in partnership.

Lake District Osprey Project: Project Update 2015-16

Four fantastic local business have been working hard to raise money for this vital conservation project. Last year they raised over £3,000, helping to protect this magnificent bird. 

The Lake District Osprey Project is a partnership between the Forestry Commission, Lake District National Park and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) with fantastic support from many volunteers. The aim of this partnership project is to ensure the continued success of breeding ospreys at Bassenthwaite, and voluntary donations are vital to its success. 

In 2001 a pair of ospreys nested beside Bassenthwaite Lake and became the first wild osprey to breed in the Lake District for over 150 years. The birds were encouraged to stay with the help of a purpose built nest provided by the Forestry Commission and the Lake District National Park.  Once the eggs were laid, wardens kept a round the clock watch to prevent disturbance and deter egg thieves, and a pair of ospreys have been visiting the nest ever since.

In Spring 2016 the nest was fitted with a High Definition camera, and live pictures were sent to the exhibition area at Whinlatter including stunning footage of both adults from 2015 arriving over Easter weekend. Two weeks later, two eggs were laid, and a third a few days later! All three eggs hatched, but unfortunately the first two chicks to hatch were taken from the nest by Magpies. The third and strongest chick, named Bega, survived the vulnerable first few days in the nest and has developed into a strong and health fledgling. She has been fitted with a small satellite tracker too so that we can learn about her exciting journey, and the plight of this amazing species. 

Since fledging on July 12th Bega has been a model example of a developing juvenile osprey. The first few days were spent landing and taking off from the nest, and soon she was extending her range. Viewing from Dodd Viewpoints became better and better as the birds flew closer and closer to the telescopes. The next stage of Bega’s training for independence has begun and she has been spotted flying over the Lake, her instincts for hunting fish being woken as she stares down into the water.

The success of this conservation project is dependent on the protection of their habitat for feeding and nesting, and on wardens keeping a round the clock watch to prevent disturbance and deter egg thieves. This vital conservation work could not happen without donations. Thank you to Hillthwaite House, Howe KeldMiddle Ruddings, and Dalegarth House for helping to protect this wonderful species. 

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