The first Lake District osprey, known as YC, has returned from his West African wintering grounds.

Snapped on a nest camera in misty weather at 5am on 25 March, the osprey’s return officially kicks off the breeding season in the Lakes. His timing at the nest, located near Ulverston, beats his arrival last year by 12 hours.

His arrival was captured on film as part of the BASC Osprey Project that monitors the local population, maintains the ospreys’ nesting sites and provides advice and assistance to local landowners.

Mike Thornley, BASC northern regional officer and osprey co-ordinator, said: “It is great to see YC again, amazingly this is his seventh year at this same nesting platform. As is usual YC has wasted no time in providing the finishing touches to his nest in preparation for his partner’s return in due course. We are delighted to work in partnership with Natural England at this site.”

“With four new nesting platforms to add to the six nests already being monitored last year in the Lake District, we are hoping for an extremely successful season for the growing population.”


Notes to Editors:

  1. Ospreys were extinct in the UK for much of the 20th century. Their return to the Lakes has been part of dedicated conservation effort by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Natural England, numerous other conservation bodies and landowners. Numbers across the whole of the UK now stretch to 300 pairs.
  2. With a wingspan reaching 1.5m, they are among the largest birds of prey in the UK. They are also the only UK bird of prey that feeds exclusively on fish.
  3. YC was born in Glaslyn, North Wales in 2008. Following a couple of years maturing in West Africa he returned to the site in 2011 but was seen off, as is natural, by his parents. He settled in the Lakes where Mike Thornley has been monitoring his progress ever since. YC has successfully produced a total of 13 chicks to date.
  4. This year the BASC osprey conservation project is monitoring 12 nest sites in two counties. The aim is to continue growing this by two to three new sites each year and see the birds move into new counties.
  5. Three pictures attached; ‘First osprey 2021’ is the first picture taken at 05:47 25/03/21 from the nest camera, the low quality is as a result of mist that morning, ‘YC 2021 2’ is a better image of YC preparing his nest, taken later that day at 09:24 25/03/21, ‘Osprey’ is a high resolution stock image of an osprey free for use.

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