Kites are flying high as young fledge from the Derwent Valley

Observers have been weighing up how the North East’s “celebrity” birds have performed during this year’s nesting season

Observers have been weighing up how the North East’s “celebrity” birds have performed during this year’s nesting season.

Eighteen known red kite youngsters have fledged from 27 active territories in the Derwent Valley in Gateshead.

These include two nests which each produced triplets – and one which contained a mitten.

A total of 94 young red kites were originally reintroduced into the valley and the population is now around 75 to 80 birds.

Ken Sanderson, of the Friends of Red Kites , said that there was some concern that the population had remained static.

But he said: “Two sets of triplets is not common and shows that the habitat and feeding is good.”

Some of the valley’s birds have travelled further afield, including two who have bred and settled with red kites in Yorkshire.

The Friends’ exhibition Flight of the Red Kites, which shows photographs of a giant image of a bird laid out at landmark locations in the region, is running at South Shields Museum and North Tyneside Hospital.

Two brother ospreys each fathered three chicks in two nests at Kielder Forest and Water Park in Northumberland.

But two of the chicks in one of the nests died and tests are being carried out to try to find out why.

However, the four surviving chicks is still the best breeding result so far at Kielder.

Three of the chicks have been ringed by the Forestry Commission.

The process of ringing provides ecologists and ornithologists with information on subjects such as migration and feeding behaviour.

Tom Dearnley, ecologist with the Forestry Commission said: “There are many stages in ensuring that rare species of bird are conserved in the right way, but this is the only point in their lifetime that these ospreys will be seen so closely. Ringing helps us to establish where Northumberland’s ospreys spend their adult life and to understand more about our forests.”

Elisabeth Rowark, director, of Kielder Water and Forest Park Development Trust said: “Ringing is a momentous time in the lives of the these fabulous young birds. We have had hundreds of visitors coming to the Osprey Watch at Leaplish Waterside Park to see and hear about the ospreys from the expert volunteers.”

At Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s East Chevington nature reserve on Druridge Bay, a pair of marsh harriers raised five chicks.

It is the fifth year that the species has nested in reed beds at the site.

Avocets which tried to nest at the trust’s Cresswell Ponds reserve for the second year in what is the most northerly nesting site for the birds, were washed out.

But four pairs did nest at another location in the bay area.

Other avocets, which made local wildlife history when they hatched chicks on Wearside for the first time, have broken another record at WWT Washington Wetland Centre.

Four pairs of avocets hatched chicks at the wildlife reserve’s Wader Lake this breeding season, producing 12 young between them.

But for the first time in the site’s 38-year history, two of the black and white waders have made return journeys to breed at WWT Washington, after hatching there themselves in 2011.

The two adults – which formed separate pairs – were identified by their colour rings placed on their legs as chicks by the British Trust for Ornithology.

John Gowland, WWT Washington’s reserve manager, said: “This is a fantastic first for our site. Avocets are a migratory species and in the past we’ve also had confirmation that an avocet ringed here in 2010 ended up in Cadiz, in Spain, although it hasn’t returned to Washington as yet. So our 2011 birds may well have been to Spain themselves or even somewhere as far away as Africa.”

Avocets first nested at WWT Washington in 2006.

Ringing helps us to establish where Northumberland’s ospreys spend their adult life

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