Introduction

Wild Time

Spring

Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries

Summer

Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties

Autumn

Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi

Winter

Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Ospreys at Rutland Water © John Wright/Leics & Rutland WT

Once just a single pair of ospreys survived in Scotland: now they are back, and March sees the return of nesting birds across Scotland, England and Wales.

All have hides, with telescopes available for a closer look and volunteers on hand to tell you more about the birds

There are few species that evoke the wonder of bird migration quite like the osprey.  This spectacular fish-eating bird of prey undertakes a remarkable 3,000 mile migration from the UK to winter in sub-Saharan West Africa. After spending the winter on a Senegalese or Gambian beach the birds head north again in early March, battling their way across the vast wilds of the Sahara, through Europe and back to their nest in England, Wales or Scotland; often arriving on the same day as they did the previous spring.

In the UK, ospreys are a conservation success story.  Having been driven to extinction through persecution in the Victorian era, they have made a remarkable comeback.  The first birds to return were a single famous pair in Scotland in 1954.  Thanks to a lot of hard work from conservation bodies, there are now 300 pairs in Scotland and, together with a successful reintroduction at Rutland Water, the birds have recently become re-established in England and Wales too.

How to do it

The four reserves listed all have hides overlooking active osprey nests, with telescopes available for a closer look and volunteers on hand to tell you more about the birds.  For something a bit different, why not join an osprey cruise at Rutland Water on board the Rutland Belle.  There is a good chance of seeing fishing ospreys from the boat and you can enjoy wonderful views of the area at the same time.  Check the website for more information on how to book.  Find out how children and schools can take part in World Osprey Week activities: 11-15 April 2016 here.  Also, you might like to read  Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis - a gripping novel about ospreys for 8 - 14 year olds...

If you can’t get to the special places listed below… Thanks to the wonders of technology (and the hard work of The Wildlife Trusts) we can now follow the day to day lives of ospreys at the nests via webcams , beaming live images from nests around the country.  And it’s not over when the birds have left their nests.  An increasing number of individuals are now fitted with satellite transmitters each year, so you can also follow their awe-inspiring journey in minute detail as the young birds head back down to Spain, across the straits of Gibraltar and down the west coast of Africa for another season in the sun.

Special spots

Four Wildlife Trust nature reserves give you the opportunity to watch nesting ospreys go about their daily business.  Which, when you think that just 60 years there was only a single well-guarded pair in the entire country, is pretty impressive! 

At Scottish Wildlife Trust's  Loch of the Lowes , in Perthshire a pair have nested each year since 1969 (at that time it was one of just five nests in the whole country.)  A new female osprey arrived in 2015, replacing the previous incumbent who had nested there an indefatigable 24 years raising 50 chicks.

Ospreys were extinct in England until Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and its partner Anglian Water stepped in.  A translocation project was started at Rutland Water in 1996, with young ospreys brought from nests in Scotland to be released at the reservoir.  In 2001, a single chick was raised by one of those translocated birds together with his mate, the first time ospreys had bred in England for 150 years.  And they’ve bred every year since.  In 2015 the Rutland population stood at eight pairs, with over 100 chicks having fledged over the years. One of those pairs nests on the Lyndon reserve, from where you can get great views of the birds during the summer. 

The Dyfi estuary in Powys has been a regular stopping off point for migrating Scottish ospreys for many years. In 2007, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust built a nesting platform at their Cors Dyfi reserve in the hope of attracting some of these passers-by to stay, and amazingly the very next year a male bird did just that. “Monty”, as he has been christened, was finally joined by a female in 2011 and then by another in 2013 when his first mate failed to return from Africa.  Both females were birds hatched at a Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust reserve, Rutland Water! 

The pair which breed at Cumbria Wildlife Trust's  Foulshaw Moss  are relative newcomers, first nesting there as recently as 2014.  Many chicks are now fitted with coloured leg rings, and so we know that the female (known as Blue 35) was hatched from a nest in Kielder Forest in 2010, while her slightly older mate (White YW) is a local boy, from Bassenthwaite Lake in 2008.

All of these wonderful places have webcams which you can watch from home.

Osprey in flight © Emyr Evans

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