Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

New Osprey Chick Sparks Celebration; Second Mating Pair Is like 'Winning Jackpot' for Kielder Rangers

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

New Osprey Chick Sparks Celebration; Second Mating Pair Is like 'Winning Jackpot' for Kielder Rangers

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson

WILDLIFE lovers are celebrating a breakthrough in osprey conservation after it was announced a second pair of birds have produced a chick in the North East countryside. Kielder Forest has become the only English location for more than 170 years where more than a single pair of naturally re-colonising ospreys have bred successfully at the same time.

It has also emerged that a site behind Druridge Bay has been colonised by eight avocets - the most northerly breeding location in England for the birds.

The new ospreys have nested on an artificial platform erected by the Forestry Commission on top of a tall spruce tree.

It is a major boost for forest chiefs, who have worked with Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Northumbrian Water and the RSPB to create an osprey-friendly environment in Kielder.

It has also emerged that Kielder's original osprey pair, which arrived in 2009 and became the first to breed in the North East for at least 200 years, have had a single chick this year - their seventh youngster in three years.

The female osprey originally laid three eggs in May, but it is believed that stormy weather during the crucial hatching period meant that only one youngster has survived.

Elisabeth Rowark, from the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, said: "Getting a second pair of ospreys breeding in Kielder Water & Forest Park is truly fantastic news and hopefully heralds the return of this magnificent bird in even greater numbers.

"It's a tremendous boost for everyone who loves this stunning place and its wonderful wildlife. Fingers are now crossed that the youngsters fledge from both nests."

The new osprey couple first tried to breed in Kielder last year using a self-built nest, but the attempt was kept under wraps to protect them from disturbance.

As with many inexperienced young birds, their first try for a family was unsuccessful, not least because their nest wasn't up to scratch. But help was at hand.

Philip Spottiswood, chief wildlife ranger with the Forestry Commission, said: "In the spring we sent in our tree climbers to erect a more secure artificial platform on the birds' chosen tree. …

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