The Rutland Osprey Project celebrated a major milestone this week, when the 100th osprey chick to fledge from a nest in the Rutland Water area took to the air for the first time.
The eight-week-old chic is one of 15 to have flown from eight nests in a record-breaking summer for the project.
The fledging of the 100th chick is the latest landmark for a project that has successfully restored a population of these magnificent birds of prey to the skies of central England for the first time in over 150 years.
Having been extinct in England since the mid-1800s, 64 six-week-old Scottish ospreys were released at the reservoir between 1996 and 2001 in a partnership between Anglian Water and the Trust.
The first translocated osprey returned to breed at its adopted home in 2001 and the number of breeding pairs has gradually increased since then.
Three of this year’s chicks have fledged from a nest at Rutland Water Nature Reserve, where visitors have the opportunity to enjoy close-up views from a purpose-built hide. Live images from the nest are relayed to the hide as well as to the Lyndon Visitor Centre and onto the project’s popular website.
Project Manager Tim Mackrill said: “It is always a thrilling moment to see a young osprey make its first flight and this year the high definition cameras that we have on the nest gave us an incredible view as the young ospreys took to the air for the first time. Both the visitor centre and hide were buzzing with excitement when the chicks left the nest.”
This year’s osprey chicks are likely to remain in Rutland until early September when they will set-off on a 3,000 mile migration to West Africa. If they survive the epic journey, the young birds will remain in Africa until they are two years old.
Tim added: “Of the Rutland-fledged birds that are old enough to have returned, 40% have made it back. Most have returned to the Rutland area, but two have bred successfully in Wales; helping to re-establish ospreys there for the first time in over 400 years.”
Keep up to date with the latest news on www.ospreys.org.uk
Photograph: Osprey chicks 100 and 101 (John Wright/LRWT)
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