Monday, 2 April 2012

Our local OSPREYS are back from Senegal!

The Osprey makes one of the most positive British conservation stories. Hunted to extinction in Britain in Victorian times, it remained absent as a breeding species in Britain until 1954. In that year, a pair of these charismatic fishing hawks - probably from Scandinavia - nested in the Spey Valley. The RSPB encouraged them by buying up a large estate at Loch Garten in prime Osprey-habitat, and from 1959 they have nested annually on the reserve. Numbers built up slowly, and new sites in the Scottish Highlands were gradually colonized. The RSPB kept very quiet about these other Osprey sites, and used the 'honeypot' approach: directing all enquiries and visitors to their well-guarded Garten site. Even there problems occurred: one year an attempt was made to saw down the nesting tree, and the staff have to keep a 24-hour watch on the nest to prevent egg-theft. By 1991, Scotland had 71 nesting pairs, and now Britain has over 250 pairs. Recently England and Wales have had their first nests forwell over a century.

Ospreys returned to the Dyfi Valley - next to the RSPB reserve of Ynys Hir - for the first time last year, raising three young. Archives reveal that the same area was used by nesting Ospreys in the 17th century. In September, British Ospreys migrate to West Africa. Nora, the female, has been back for a few days, rearranging the sticks in the nest and anxiously looking south...., but the great news came in this afternoon that her partner Monty is back too! They've already been spotted mating by the MWT (Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust)'s superb new webcam. The above image is a still from the webcam. Now we look forward to another successful breeding season, fingers crossed!

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