The Kielder Ospreys blog is managed and updated by volunteers on behalf of The Kielder Osprey Project. The project is a partnership between Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust and Forestry England. Northumberland Wildlife Trust manages the volunteers that run the public viewing point for Osprey Watch. Forestry England provide the technological infrastructure that allows us to see the nests and monitor the ospreys’ progress. All of this is very much dependent on donations from the public either at the viewing point, when it is open, or through the Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s donation page.
Here is a message from the partners, as the response to Covid 19 continues to evolve:-
We know people want to start visiting the area again, but hope you understand that any measures we take need to be done in a way that is safe for you, local communities, and fellow visitors, and is in line with Government guidance.
Please, if you do visit, be respectful of the local communities. Stay away from village and residential centres, and strictly observe Government guidelines on social distancing wherever you are in the Park.
As much as possible, please continue to stay local and exercise close to home.
When possible, the arrangements described below will resume, but this may well not be until late in the season. The blog will be updated as frequently as restrictions allow.
Thanks to Forestry England, during the breeding season live video-feeds from Nests 1A and 6 are provided at Kielder Castle and in the cabin behind the Boat Inn at Kielder Waterside. Clips of video footage from 2013 onwards, including a summary of that season on Nest 1, can be found on the Kielder Ospreys Vimeo website. Since 2016, short clips are embedded in posts on the blog.
Since 2009 a watch point has helped show off these wonderful birds to the visitors who make the trip to Kielder Water & Forest Park. Osprey Watch runs from Kielder Waterside each year. Dates for 2020 are weekends from 25 April to 16 August. You will be able to observe them through telescopes, watch live webcams, and learn about the ospreys at Kielder with the help of Northumberland Wildlife Trust volunteers. Ospreys can be seen flying over Leaplish Bay and some visitors are lucky enough to see a catch.
Brief history of Kielder Ospreys
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 (then) 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. The original pair were unringed. By 2018 Kielder Forest was home to five breeding pairs of ospreys. Significant events each year can be found on the timeline.
The males on Nest 1A and Nest 2 (established 2011) are full brothers. The second osprey to fledge in Wales in modern times is Nest 2’s Yellow 37, hatched at Glaslyn in 2005. Nest 1A’s White YA hatched there in 2007 and has bred at Kielder since 2012.
Breeding took place on Nest 3 for the first time in 2014. The same unringed pair have returned until 2018, when a new unringed male successfully reared two chicks with the original female.
In 2016, White EB replaced 37’s original unringed mate. She hatched in Tweed Valley in 2007, and bred there in 2010. That same year, Blue 69, a 2011 male from the Loch Lomond area, and his unringed mate produced their first 2 offspring at Nest 4.
In 2018, a natural nest, Nest 5, was built by male Blue CN2 and female Blue FF1. CN2 hatched in 2013 near Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway. FF1 hatched in 2014 near Crieff, Perthshire. The pair raised at least one chick to about 3 weeks old, but sadly it died. In 2019 the pair re-located to a new nest platform nearby, and raised 2 chicks to fledging age.
In 2019 Blue W6, another Welsh male but from a nest in Snowdonia, had three chicks with an unringed female on a new nest platform, Nest 6. Sadly, none of their chicks survived.
Since 2014 Blue 35, a female hatched in 2010, has bred with a Lake District hatched male, White YW, at Foulshaw Moss in South Cumbria. Blue 35 is the chick at the rear in the photo below.