Sunday, 31 July 2011

First ospreys fledge at Cors Dyfi in over 400 years

Ospreys in Wales

July 2011. The Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust is pleased to announce that on Wednesday July 27th at 14.22, the first of the three Dyfi osprey chicks fledged the nest at their Cors Dyfi reserve near Machynlleth. This is the first time that ospreys have successfully bred on the Dyfi since 1604 and marks a milestone in the conservation of ospreys in Wales.

Wales' rarest bird
Project Manager for the Dyfi Osprey Project, Emyr Evans said "The osprey is Wales' rarest bird and to see the first of the three youngsters take his maiden flight this afternoon was truly an incredible sight - to think that James I has just taken over from Elizabeth I on the throne the last time ospreys successfully bred in the Dyfi valley feels almost unreal. Centuries of persecution led to the extinction of the osprey as a species in the UK but thankfully now we have two breeding pairs in Wales. Almost 40,000 people have visited the Dyfi Osprey Project since we opened in April - I wish all of them could have seen this seven and a half week old osprey launch himself off the edge of the nest this afternoon and take his first flight around the Dyfi"

40 second flight
"It was Einion, the eldest male chick that was the first to fledge - he pushed himself off the side of the nest and flew towards the Dyfi River before turning around, circling the nest three times and finally landing back next to his parents on the nest. It was a 40 second flight that we have been waiting years to see"

Satellite tags
In partnership with the BBC and Autumwatch, all three osprey chicks were ringed and satellite tagged on Tuesday, 19th July. World renowned osprey expert Roy Dennis OBE flew down from Scotland to oversee the tagging accompanied by Tony Cross of the Welsh Kite Trust.

Roy Dennis said "Tiny satellite trackers weighing just 30g were placed on each youngster and these will send a signal back every hour for around five years of the osprey's life that records the birds' altitude, speed if they're flying and global position accurate down to just 18 metres. This is the first time that Welsh ospreys have been satellite tagged and the information gained from these three birds will be invaluable in gaining a better understanding of where these birds go in winter. Scottish ospreys generally fly to West Africa - Senegal and Gambia; because the Welsh ospreys will begin their migration from a more southerly and westerly starting point, we really have no idea whether they will over-winter at the same grounds as other ospreys or end up somewhere completely different."

First Welsh osprey for centuries fledged in 2004
Tony Cross from the Welsh Kite Trust said "I tried to ring the first osprey chick to ever fledge in Wales at a nest near Welshpool in 2004 but couldn't quite reach the nest to get to the bird, unfortunately that pair never returned. To be able to ring all three of the Dyfi ospreys seven years on makes the wait all the more rewarding. The ringing and tagging process was carried out when the chicks were around six weeks old and all three looked in excellent condition; we have one female and two males, the female being around 10% heavier than her brothers which is what we expected."

The Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust is currently developing a brand new website to allow people to follow the exact routes and position of the three young Dyfi ospreys as they start their migration south in September. The three osprey youngsters have been named after local rivers; Einion and Dulas for the two males and Leri for their sister.

Still open for viewing
The Dyfi Osprey Project is open between 10am and 6pm until Monday 12 September. It is based at Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust's Cors Dyfi nature reserve in Derwenlas just south of Machynlleth, SY20 8SR. Visitors can see live, high resolution nest camera footage at the visitor centre on large plasma screens and view the ospreys from a specially built tower-hide with telescopes and binoculars.

The Dyfi Osprey Project is supported by Communities and Nature (CAN) which is a strategic project led and managed by Countryside Council for Wales and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The Dyfi Osprey Project is also funded by Heritage Lottery Fund. The osprey nest cameras are powered by Network Rail.

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