Scottish invaders force ospreys out of Bassenthwaite nest
By Victoria Brenan
The Scottish have invaded Cumbria – and they’ve ruffled a few feathers. A new pair of breeding ospreys have flown into Bassenthwaite, near Keswick, and forced the previous pair out of the nest.
Bird watchers at the Lake District site said the new female, which is ringed, has been traced to Inverness, where she hatched four years ago.
“The two extra ospreys were seen flying over the nest and our [original] young couple last Wednesday,” a spokesman for the Lake District Osprey Project said.
“This upset them tremendously and the female spent a lot of the day jumping off and on the nest, screaming and dancing. It was difficult to see what her partner was doing – chasing or flying with the other pair.
“At one point there was a merry-go-round of ospreys whirring in dizzying circles around the tree and over the adjoining field.”
He said the Scottish invasion appeared to have been successful and forced the first pair of birds – which arrived last month – out of the nest.
The new birds have now been seen for several days in the nest, with the male bringing the female fish. The original birds tried a few ‘dive bomb’ raids on them, he said, “raking at them with talons out”. But it failed to dislodge them.
Because the female bird is ringed she has been traced to Inverness, where she was born in 2009 and named White KL. She has also been seen in Senegal, in 2011 and 2012, by the Rutland osprey team. The male bird is smaller and has similar markings to the original male.
The Lake District Osprey Project is now in its 12th year, after being launched in 2001 when conservationists noticed that ospreys were using what they called a ‘service station’ at Dodd Wood and decided to encourage them to breed.
Supported by the RSPB, the National Park and the Forestry Commission, the project was a success from the start.
More than 100 volunteers monitor the birds 24 hours a day, keeping them safe from egg thieves, vandals and disruption.
Thousands of people visit the viewing points each year, boosting the local economy by £3 million.