Monday, 6 August 2007

English Osprey makes it to Norway

An Osprey reared at Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria, in 2004 has been located … in Norway. This is the first time that any positive news has surfaced regarding any of the young fledged from the Lake District.

Bjørn Einrem photographed an Osprey not far from his home in western Norway this summer, but on closer inspection of the image he realised that the bird was bearing a green colour-ring, inscribed ‘5S’. Some ornithological detective work later led Bjørn to Pete Davies of the Lake District Osprey Project.

The bird, Green 5S, is just one of 10 Ospreys to have fledged from the same Lake District nest site, but rather then return to England, having spent the winter in West Africa, it ended up in the Røgaland region of Norway.

Green 5S was believed to have been a female at the time of ringing and this view has been strengthened by the fact she ended up well outside her natal range; males are thought to be more prone to site fidelity than females. Pete Davies commented: “This is very exciting news and we are delighted to know that one of the young Ospreys reared in the Lake District has made it to adulthood and returned to northern Europe. We are obviously a bit disappointed that Green 5S didn’t come back to the Lake District but hopefully it’s only a matter of time before one of the other chicks returns to its birthplace. After all, birds don’t recognise international borders and the main thing is that an English born Osprey has helped increase the European population of these beautiful and fascinating birds.”

It was back in 2001 that a single pair of Ospreys recolonised the Lake District. These were thought to be ‘overspill’ from the Scottish population, where numbers have increased and the species’ range has expanded since a pair returned to nest in the Highlands back in the 1950s. The irony of it is that the first birds to recolonise Scotland in the 1950s were probably of Scandinavian stock.

The Lake District Osprey Project Partnership provides viewing facilities close to Keswick, where the general public can enjoy excellent views of breeding Ospreys. The project itself is a partnership between The Forestry Commission, the RSPB and The Lake District National Park Authority.

Photo: Osprey by Steve Young (