A third pair of ospreys are bringing up a family in Northumberland, it was revealed last night.
Hundreds of visitors to Kielder Forest and Water Park have been watching two osprey nests with three chicks in each on web cam broadcasts and through telescopes at an observation point at Leaplish.
But now it has emerged that a third pair has settled on a tree nesting platform set up by the Forestry Commission and that at least one chick has hatched.
With just two nests the osprey presence at Kielder was always vulnerable but a third is a step towards Northumberland having an established population.
The ospreys re-colonised naturally in Kielder in 2009 after an absence of more than 170 years.
Tom Dearnley, Forestry Commission ecologist, said: “This is fantastic news. The Kielder ospreys continue to go from strength to strength, thanks to the natural environment of Kielder, and the work of the wildlife rangers to provide safe nest locations and superb volunteers.”
The third nest has attracted interest from other ospreys in the past. Tom said: “Everything seemed to be progressing towards successful breeding in 2013, but for unknown reasons no eggs were laid. This is not unusual for young, inexperienced osprey pairs. But ospreys attract ospreys and now with three nests we are on the way to a healthy population. It shows that Kielder is a good , protected environment for the ospreys.”
He added: “We are also delighted that, thanks to donations, we will be able to find out much more about our ospreys after they leave Northumberland as we will be fitting three young birds with GSM transmitters. These tiny backpacks communicate with the mobile phone network and tell us where the birds are.”