The lone osprey chick spotted at Kielder at week has followed its instincts and will be not on the long journey south to the African sub-Sahara. Now, all the ospreys have headed south.
Meanwhile, a kestrel arrived not long after the young osprey’s departure to explore the nest.
The chicks born this year faced very tough odds in what was the wettest spring and early summer on record in the North of England.
Two chicks on one of the nests vanished in the bad weather. The remaining chick took as much food as he could, supplied by his dad.
Three chicks on another nest did well. The smallest of those was feared dead a at one point but it did well and pulled through.
Generally ospreys leave anytime from late August to winter in sub-Saharan Africa, a 5,000 mile journey south. Generally, mum goes first, then the dad and finally the chicks.
The Kielder osprey chicks must make their own way and it is a hard life for them. A danger can be that on the first migration if the the chicks try to cross the Bay of Biscay in one go they may not make it. The journey would be too long and it’s highly unlikely they will make it to their destination. Ospreys that learn to stick to the coast so they can rest will survive.
Iit will be a couple of years before the Kielder osprey chick makes its first trip back to the UK, and a couple more before it breeds.
The Kielder ospreys have become a highlight on the Northumbrian wildlife calendar and wildlife lovers follow their progress with keen interest.
Update: The ospreys will be expected back in Northumberland in March 2013, with the male will arriving first. The adults are faithful to the same nest, but the youngsters are not. The youngsters will spend two years or so in Africa before attempting their first flight back to the UK – they may not come back to Kielder, but we’d love to see them again!
Regarding the journey south, one expert says the birds have a 50/50 chance surviving their first migration.