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First 2018 Kielder osprey chicks hatch

Two osprey chicks begging on Nest 4 at Kielder.
Two osprey chicks begging on Nest 4 at Kielder.

This year's first Kielder osprey hatchlings have arrived.

While the ospreys' breeding season at Kielder Water & Forest Park has been delayed slightly by weather conditions, such as the Beast from the East, a flourish of hatchings have now begun with the first two chicks breaking through within two hours of each other - on the same nest.

Over the weekend, the final egg on that nest also hatched, while there were three other hatchings on other nests.

One regular visitor, a male osprey that normally makes its home on nest three, failed to return this year, but he was replaced by a new arrival that has quickly settled in with the usual female.

Three eggs have been spotted on each of the four nests, leading to optimism that 2018 - the 10th year that ospreys have bred at Kielder- will be a bumper year for young osprey hatchings.

Kielder osprey expert volunteer Joanna Dailey said: "We should see a flurry of activity now as the eggs start to hatch, bringing another year of new life to the Kielder osprey story. The time between the first two chicks is possibly a UK record for the shortest interval between hatches, although eggs have hatched within 24 hours on a number of nests, including Nest 4 last year.

"The new arrival and his mate have done very well, as have the returning ospreys, in gifting us a dozen eggs, with the promise of continuing the growth of the Kielder osprey family.

"Now comes the tough part for the chicks, as they strengthen and prepare to fledge, so that they can hopefully thrive and be ready for their migration at the end of the summer."

Kielder Osprey Watch runs on weekends and bank holidays until mid-August, with additional Wednesdays from July.

The Kielder Osprey Project is a partnership between Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, Forestry Commission, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Northumbrian Water and Calvert Trust Kielder. The partners are working hard to ensure that the ospreys are here to stay by maintaining a high quality habitat in Kielder Water & Forest Park and safeguarding and monitoring the nest sites.

To find out more, go to www.visitkielder.com.

To post osprey sightings, go to the VisitKielder Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kielder or the VisitKielder twitter feed at www.twitter.com/visitkielder.

You can also keep up to date with the ospreys at www.kielderospreys.wordpress.com