Guest blog from Glaslyn visitors

Here is a super report from Viv and Tony, two of the Directors of the community interest group, BGGW,  which took over the management of the Glaslyn Osprey Project from the RSPB this year. BGGW have done a fantastic job from a standing start. Viv and Tony visited Kielder for their first time just before fledging on Nests 1 and 2. I’m ashamed to say I visited Glaslyn in late June, had some of my best days ever,  and still haven’t written about it. So especial thanks to Viv and Tony for their speedy report.

It was a genuine pleasure for all of us to show them Kielder and especially the Nest 1 and Nest 2 males White YA and Yellow 37, who hatched at Glaslyn. Over to Viv and Tony!

OUR WONDERFUL VISIT TO KIELDER

We set off early in the morning, the sun was shining and we were eager to make the most of our visit to Kielder Ospreys. Would we see YA during our visit? It was 2007 when we last saw him, a young osprey at Glaslyn about to embark on his first migration. YA was our introduction to Ospreys as protection site volunteers for the RSPB.

On arrival at Kielder Castle a warm welcome was waiting for us from Joanna. Lovely to see her again.

The screen was already on YA’s nest and over a cuppa at the Cafe we chatted and enjoyed watching the chicks.

YA put in a brief appearance but a blink and he was gone. We felt sure we’d see him again.

Yellow 37 had already migrated before we became volunteers but equally we hoped to see him and his family. We saw his chicks on the screen, three beauties.

After lunch Joanna took us to the lakeside, how beautiful the scenery.

A view across Kielder Water in the general direction of Nest 1, YA's home (c) Vivien Finn

A view across Kielder Water in the general direction of Nest 1, YA’s home
(c) Vivien Finn

We had scopes and hoped to catch one of the ospreys fishing. Along the way there were Siskin feeding on seed heads, a stunning male in summer plumage.

Siskin feeding on thistle seeds (c) Vivien Finn

Siskin feeding on thistle seeds
(c) Vivien Finn

We set up our scopes and found YA perched at the top of a tree some distance away, his white chest was bathed in sunshine. Hello again YA! We were delighted.

Our day ended with a delicious meal at the Pheasant Inn with Joanna and Sally. It was good to catch up with Sally again. A very pleasant evening.

The following morning we set off for Bellingham, we’d been invited to a ‘meet and greet’ with the Forestry Commission. After introductions Graham, the North England District Forest Management Director,  gave us a really interesting talk about the history of the Forestry Commission and how it came to be. The changes in how forests have been managed over the years and the size and nature of Kielder Forest. We both enjoyed this very much.

Martin, Kielder’s Ornithologist, had offered to spend the day with us. He would take us to various sites to view the Ospreys nearer their nests but outside the exclusion zone. We set off to see Yellow 37. “Miles and miles of tracks in these forests” Graham had said! We were soon to find out. We arrived at a good viewpoint and saw Yellow 37 at his nest guarding his chicks while the female slowly circled overhead giving us great views. Our first real sighting of Yellow 37. Wonderful!

Mrs 37 flying near her nest (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs 37 flying near her nest
(c) Vivien Finn

From there we moved on to look for Crossbills. A pair were together on a small bush, the male was superb. Great, I thought, I’ll take a photo. Where was the camera? In the boot! They both flew away. Further along the track we could hear Goshawk chicks calling and saw one flying through the trees. Incredible agility. On our way back Tree Pipits were landing on the track in front of us then flying up into the trees.

Next stop was to see YA again and there he was at the top of the same tree where he could keep an eye on his nest and the surrounding area. He is very like his father, the Glaslyn male. It was so lovely to see him again. Martin took us along more tracks and over mixed terrain until we reached a viewpoint for Nest 3, again outside the exclusion zone. A beautiful nest with 2 chicks. The female was at the edge of the nest then she took flight and circled above.

The Nest 3 female (c) Vivien Finn

The Nest 3 female
(c) Vivien Finn

We hadn’t been there long when the male appeared with the largest fish we’ve ever seen in an Osprey’s talons. It was a very white fish. The male took it to a feeding tree, how he didn’t drop the fish is a credit to him. Meanwhile the female and chicks waited patiently on the nest for their supper. What an end to a really fantastic day.

We were to leave the following morning for Threave to see another breeding Glaslyn Osprey Black 80. NOT before calling at the Castle though to say farewell and thank you to Joanna for making our stay so special. Thank you to the Forestry Commission for their hospitality and Graham and his team for our ‘meet and greet’. Martin, you showed us some great birds, thank you.

As we left we walked under the arch at the Castle to the car and had our last look at the Swallows’ nest in the roof. An adult was feeding one of the chicks, we smiled and left with lovely memories.

Viv and Tony. Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife

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