Ospreys are spectacular fish-eating birds of prey with a wingspan of over five feet. They became extinct as a breeding bird in England in 1840 and in Scotland in 1916 primarily due to heavy persecution by Victorian egg and skin collectors. Although things are slowly improving for ospreys they are still considered rare.
Ospreys re-colonised the UK naturally, breeding for the first time in Scotland in 1954 at Loch Garten, Abernethy Forest Reserve, and in England in 2001 at Bassenthwaite in the Lake District and today there are numerous osprey projects running across the UK to protect these rare and beautiful birds.
The Kielder Osprey Project
For many years ospreys were seen passing through Kielder without stopping, always on the way north to more long-standing nesting sites in Scotland. As more and more of the best nesting spots were taken, it was just a matter of time before they stayed south of the border. To encourage this, the Forestry Commission installed a number of platforms around the forest after a failed attempt to nest by two young birds in 2008. This paid off, as following an absence of about 200 years in Northumberland, ospreys returned to nest at Kielder in 2009.
Every year, once the ospreys return to Kielder, Northumberland Wildlife Trust coordinates a team of knowledgeable volunteers who share their expertise with visitors from the viewing point situated behind the Boat Inn at Kielder Waterside. As with previous years, we expect to run Osprey Watch in 2020 from mid-April through to mid-August. Watch our website for further information nearer the time. We'll also be looking for more volunteers to help with the watch at the start of next year.
Forestry England has provided nest-cameras which enable us to see the nest activity and monitor the ospreys’ progress. The live-streams are available to watch both from the Kielder Castle cafe and the osprey cabin behind the Boat Inn during the season.
Please show your support for Kielder's ospreys!
Although Osprey Watch is mostly run by volunteers, we still rely on donations in order to complete the work we do, which includes inspiring visitors at the viewing point and osprey cabin, purchasing equipment to help us with osprey monitoring and protection, producing educational materials and outreach work, installing and maintaining new nest platforms, training and supporting volunteers.
You can contribute to our work by donating through Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s donation page, choosing Kielder Ospreys in the drop down list.
Look out for volunteering opportunities with the project on the NWT website here.
Kielder Osprey News
It's been an interesting and challenging season for Osprey Watch 2019. This has been the best year since 2016 with 6 nests, 18 eggs known to have been laid and 11 chicks surviving to be ringed. However there have been challenges with three chicks dying on different nests due to the wet and windy weather and fledging ages were slightly above average, again, probably due to the weather, as there were days with above average rainfall and slow feather development due to the damp conditions. In spite of this, ten of our osprey chicks at Kielder made it through the summer and began their migration south to Africa throughout late August and early September.
34 wonderful volunteers provided sterling support from April to August no matter what the weather threw at them. Our fantastic team welcomed 4,792 visitors to the watch and also supported on the Calvert Kielder cruises, providing 1,104 hours of time. Thank you so much! If you're feeling inspired to get involved in next year's Osprey Watch, we'll start looking for volunteers again early next year. Recap the past season and hear any latest news on our birds by following the fantastic osprey blog.
Up, up and away!
Data from Kielder Water & Forest Park today (21 August) indicates that one of this year’s two tracked osprey juveniles. Chesters,…
Eleven ospreys for eleventh year
The eleventh year since ospreys returned to Northumberland has seen yet another record broken.
September surprise for wildlife charity
Northumberland Wildlife Trust has started September with a surprise cheque for £500 from The Rotary Club of Ponteland.