In support of the national effort to combat coronavirus (COVID-19), Forestry England and Northumbrian Water took the unprecedented decision to close all recreational facilities at Kielder Water & Forest Park on Monday 23rd March.
Lynn Turner (Director of Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust) said “the Kielder Osprey Partnership would like to send a clear message to everyone who would ordinarily delight in coming to Kielder to see the ospreys for themselves. The most important thing for all of us at Kielder Water & Forest Park is to keep the public and our staff safe. The government has said everyone must stay at home apart from essential travel. Sadly this means we have to ask you not to come to Kielder. We will keep monitoring the situation closely and follow the latest advice from Public Health England”.
Happily, it is still be possible to keep an eye on how the birds are doing from the comfort of your own home. Forestry England has been very busy over the last few months preparing for the 2020 season: sprucing up the nest platforms; replacing cameras and working with consultants to ensure that all electronics are in place to provide us with reliable footage from the nests. Due to the current situation we are still working on safely obtaining footage from some nests but we are able to receive images from two of the nest platforms. This footage is being closely monitored by dedicated Osprey Consultant, Joanna Dailey. Joanna will be posting all the latest news and images on the Kielder Osprey Project blog throughout the breeding season, and has kindly provided us with the highlights to-date.
Joanna happily reports that the first osprey to make the return journey from its wintering grounds (as far as we know) was male osprey known as YA. Arriving on 26th March, YA arrived at one of Kielder Forest’s nesting platforms, bearing a fish. He spent a couple of hours at the nest in the hopes of being able to gift his fish to a returning female before flying away again – disappointed on this occasion. In fact YA had his longest wait for his mate in his nine seasons here. Mrs YA finally arrived on 5th April, and her first act was to evict a three year old female who had shown an interest in the platform earlier in the day. Since then, normal business has resumed with plenty of nest building, preparation of a cup for eggs and mating.
The couple’s son, Blue Y1 (who was born in 2016) has also briefly visited the nest. He hasn’t been seen since 2018 so it is great to know he is back safely and interested in the place where he was born.