Hatching season is upon us as we await in anticipation for the latest burst of life in the form of new osprey chicks from the South Lakes in Cumbria. Since 2016, BASC has been actively looking after ospreys through the BASC Osprey Project. It’s the first initiative of this kind and magnitude taken on by BASC.
Shoot providers spend nearly £250 million on conservation annually, and nearly two million hectares are actively managed for conservation as a result of shooting. Managing the latest osprey hatchlings is regional officer, Mike Thornley, who has over 30 year’s experience working with raptor nesting sites; helping, advising and conserving. Never afraid to ‘get his hands dirty’, Mike has done it all – from building nests, ringing birds and chasing egg thieves to delivering courses and winning battles in courts. He is the perfect example of a shooter who cares deeply about nature and its conservation – they really do go hand-in-hand.
Mike looks after three locations (four nests in total) within the South Lakes in Cumbria; a private estate which includes pheasant shooting and trout fishing, and private nature reserves. Mike provides his expertise, helping to build and fix artificial nest sites, as well as ringing and monitoring chicks and finding the best locations for new nests.
As project lead for the BASC Osprey Project, Mike, helped with money from the BASC Legacy Fund, plans to establish more sites in the future. The aim of the project is to carry on his conservation work and support the ospreys’ colonisation of England and Wales.
For the latest information on BASC’s conservation projects, take a look at our Green Shoots section.