Here at Bassenthwaite Lake we are lucky enough to have a pair of ospreys breeding for the last 14 years. Ospreys are fish eating birds of prey with an enormous 5 ft wingspan and we are delighted that these magnificent birds of prey keep coming back to the Lake District. This year’s pair have settled in well and are hunting, fishing and importantly mating (!) producing 3 eggs which they are currently keeping warm.
The ospreys are simply fascinating to watch and the nest has a High Definition camera, with live pictures being sent to an exhibition area in the visitors centre at nearby Whinlatter Forest Park.
Whinlatter is well worth a visit to learn about all things Osprey and it also has some great walks and a lovely café for if you are feeling a bit peckish.
You can also combine a walk with viewing the Ospreys by visiting one of the two open air viewpoints at Dodd Wood, which lies almost opposite us here at the Pheasant across Bassenthwaite Lake. It’s easy to get to, just off the A591 and has parking, toilets and a café.
The lower viewpoint is open between 10am and 5pm daily and from here hopefully you will be able to see ospreys fishing over the lake and you may also see red squirrels and many varieties of woodland birds. The upper viewpoint, which is open 10.30am – 4.30pm daily, is half a mile further into the forest, and can be accessed via the forest road from the Lower Viewpoint. It takes about 30 minutes to walk, and is a steady climb, but is definitely worth the effort. There are volunteers and telescopes at the upper view point which afford excellent views of the nest itself, which is on the marsh about a kilometre away.
The ospreys are truly majestic birds and summed up perfectly in this quote from poet Henry David Thoreau:
“Its shrill scream seems yet to linger in its throat, and the roar of the sea in its wings. There is the tyranny of Jove in its claws, and his wrath in the erectile feathers of the head and neck. It reminds me of the Argonautic expedition, and would inspire the dullest to take flight over Parnassus.”