Milestone for Rutland Osprey Project as 100th chick takes flight

The 100th and 101st osprey chicks born at Rutland Water. Photo: John Wright EMN-150720-170047001
The 100th and 101st osprey chicks born at Rutland Water. Photo: John Wright EMN-150720-170047001

The Rutland Osprey project is celebrating a major milestone after the 100th chick to fledge from a nest at Rutland Water took flight for the first time.

The eight-week-old Osprey is one of 15 chicks to have flown from eight nests in a record-breaking summer. The fledging of the 100th chick is the latest landmark for a project that has successfully restored a population of the birds to the skies of central England for the first time in more than 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 reservoir owners, Anglian Water, and the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife 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.

Rutland Water Nature Reserve manager Tim Appleton, said: “Our long-term aim was to restore a self-sustaining population of Ospreys to central England, and the fact that the 100th chick has fledged shows that it is working well. Several of this year’s breeding birds are second or third generation Rutland Ospreys which proves that we now have a well-established population.”

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 website.

Tim Mackrill, who manages the project, 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 journey, the young birds will remain in Africa until they are two years old.