Cumbria Crack

Foulshaw osprey stops for some Spanish sun at start of winter migration

Osprey Blue 35 was sighted in northern Spain recently, having started her migration from Cumbria to West Africa. Credit: Alberto Benito Ruiz

[A] keen-eyed photographer has recently spotted one of the South Lakeland ospreys in northern Spain, at the start of her epic migration from Cumbria to West Africa.

Last week wildlife film-maker and photography enthusiast Alberto Benito Ruiz captured three wonderful images of Blue 35 at the Aguilar de Campoo reservoir in northern Spain, between León and Bilbao. She was identified by the coloured ring on her leg. Blue 35 is one of the pair of breeding ospreys that has nested at Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve near Witherslack every year since 2014.

Alberto Benito Ruiz has also posted some dramatic video footage of Blue 35 on YouTube, showing the osprey eating a recently-caught fish.

Paul Waterhouse, Cumbria Wildlife Trust Reserves Officer at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve, said: “It’s fantastic to get a record of Blue 35’s migration south. This is a great example of why we ring these birds and shows how conservation organisations can work together to share this valuable information.”

The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation coordinates the colour ringing of ospreys in the UK and alerted Cumbria Wildlife Trust to this recent sighting. Tim Mackrill from the Foundation said: “Colour ringing provides some incredibly valuable information on the movements and migrations of ringed ospreys. The recent surge in the popularity of digital photography means that we now receive many more records of colour-ringed birds during migration. It is particularly exciting to receive sightings of well-known birds, such as Blue 35 from Foulshaw Moss.”

You can track migration sightings of colour-ringed ospreys on Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation’s interactive map:

Blue 35, who hatched at Kielder Forest in Northumberland, and Bassenthwaite-born male White YW have successfully reared 11 young at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve over the past four years, two of which were sighted back in northern England this summer. One sighting was confirmed on the Kielder nest cam.

The Foulshaw Moss ospreys, including this year’s brood of three chicks, have all now left the nest near Witherslack to embark on their arduous 3,000 mile migration south. You can sign up to osprey e-news to be among the first to hear when the Foulshaw ospreys return in spring 2018:  You can also join in the conversation on social media using #FoulshawOspreys.

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