Sods law, Murphys law or whatever its called, but it has been nice and sunny all week, come my day off its all cloudy and gloomy on the drive up to Dodd Wood to see the Ospreys that are nesting overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake. Nevertheless I had promised myself a visit so in the hope it brightened up I lugged all the camera gear up to the Upper viewpoint. It is a lovely walk up from the Dodd walk car park at Mirehouse, up through the coniferous forest onto the fellside overlooking the plantations below and out over Bassenthwaite to the north western fells. Passing the lower viewpoint made a mental note to call in on the way back as they have feeders out for the birds and Red squirrels, and I'm glad I did, more on that later. Reaching the upper viewpoint, the volunteers have an array of telescopes out for visitors to use, and it was fairly busy already. I must admit the nest platform is a lot further out than I envisaged, but i guess it has to be to avoid disturbing the birds, but the telescopes give great views. I wasnt really sure how good my pictures would be in the poor light but settled down with the camera on full 500mm zoom and got some shots, the quality isnt great as a high iso was needed and the pictures have been further cropped. But nevertheless enjoyed the couple of hours I stayed watching the Ospreys feeding the two youngsters in the nest and chatting to the knowledgable volunteers.
To give you an idea of the distance the nest platform is from the viewpoint, the picture below is taken at 150mm, the nest platform is almost centre picture, I was told it is 400m away but it does seem a little further.
The female sits to the right of the nest whilst the male is off fishing
Thats him up above the tree line
Take off time for a wing stretch
landing back at the nest a few minutes later
The male is back after a successful fishing trip
Having dropped off the fish he leaves the female to feed the chicks and he's off again.
The female was soon off the nest and rose quickly on the thermals to tackle a Buzzard who was circling the nest
Once tackled the buzzard was off suitably chastised.
Then it was straight back to the nest to look after the chicks
After a really enjoyable couple of hours watching the Ospreys I called in at the lower viewpoint, although you cant see the nest from here, there is always the chance the Osprey will pass to hunt down on Bassenthwaite, and also there is an array of feeders set up in front of the viewing area. This Carrion Crow was lurking in the conifers deciding where to drop in to
This Jay was stealing the hazel nuts put out for the Red Squirrels which unfortunatly didnt appear while I was there, maybe next time.
I was really pleased I had stopped at the lower viewpoint when this Redpoll appeared.
It then hopped onto a nyjer seed feeder to join a male Siskin
Then a Goldfinch joined the party, a feeder full of quality birds, outstanding
When I got home the garden was alive with birds, so had an enjoyable half hour to add to the day, this female Bullfinch in the Hawthorn tree was the highlight
Cant resist taking pictures of Blue tits and Goldfinch, both of which I get in abundance
A great day, and if you have the time and energy to make the steep walk up to see the Ospreys, I guarantee you will enjoy it. Unless an opportunity arises before, my next trip is to the Bass Rock on the 29th to see the huge colony of Gannets, trip of a lifetime I am told, needless to say I cant wait!!!