25/04/2014
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Kielder Water Ospreys lay their first egg of the year

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The female Osprey keeps a watchful eye over its first egg of the season at Kielder Water & Forest Park. Photo courtesy of Forestry Commission.
The female Osprey keeps a watchful eye over its first egg of the season at Kielder Water & Forest Park. Photo courtesy of Forestry Commission.

A female Osprey at Kielder Water, Northumberland, laid its first egg of the season on 24 April, making this the sixth consecutive year the bird has bred at the site.

Osprey was once widespread across England, but was lost as a breeding bird for more than 150 years. In Northumberland records going back more than 200 years fail to mention any Ospreys breeding in the county. However, in 2009 – after the Forestry Commission had installed a number of platforms around the forest – a single pair returned to Kielder to nest. The site is now home to two pairs.

Tom Dearnley, Forestry Commission Ecologist, explains: “The norm for the females is three eggs, usually laid in intervals of two days, so over the next week we’ll be holding our breath for more eggs. We all want to see the population thrive and hopefully more Osprey families at Kielder Water & Forest Park.

“The incubation period is about five weeks and once the eggs hatch and the chicks survive their first couple of weeks, there s a strong probability that they will fledge. These are incredibly exciting times.”

Cameras installed in the nests mean visitors can watch the action unfold on CCTV footage beamed live into Kielder Castle and Northumbrian Water’s Leaplish Waterside Park.

Fans of the birds can keep up to date with them and the progress of their eggs on the Kielder Ospreys blog.

Kielder Osprey Watch 2014 will run every weekend from when the eggs hatch to when the chicks fledge, behind the Boat Inn restaurant at Leaplish Waterside Park.

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Written by: Birdwatch news team