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Bassenthwaite Lake

From Opus

Photo by HelenBView of southern end of Bassenthwaite Lake from the Upper Viewpoint, May 2009.Click on image to see a larger version
Photo by HelenB
View of southern end of Bassenthwaite Lake from the Upper Viewpoint, May 2009.
Click on image to see a larger version

England, Cumbria


[edit] Overview

Bassenthwaite Lake is a National Nature Reserve, in the Lake District, located in the county of Cumbria in northwest England. It is owned and managed by the Lake District National Park Authority. The area became famous in 2001, when a pair of wild Ospreys nested there, this being the first time in over 150 years that Ospreys had bred in the Lake District. Since then there have been breeding Ospreys every summer and hundreds of people have visited the viewpoints and visitor centre, to see these wonderful birds of prey.

Photo by HelenBView of Bassenthwaite Lake looking from the lay-by on the B5292 up to Whinlatter Pass, April 2012. The Ospreys built a new nest in 2011, in the flat marshy area on the south side of the lake ~ the area on the middle right of the photo
Photo by HelenB
View of Bassenthwaite Lake looking from the lay-by on the B5292 up to Whinlatter Pass, April 2012. The Ospreys built a new nest in 2011, in the flat marshy area on the south side of the lake ~ the area on the middle right of the photo

[edit] 2017 Ospreywatch News

  • The 2017 Ospreywatch season opens on Saturday, 1st April. The nests have been refurbished and the cameras fitted and tested. There have been no more satellite signals from last year's chick, Bega, but No. 14's tracker is still sending back information from the island of Bioko, south of Nigeria. Hopefully, KL and her mate Unring, will have a safe journey back from West Africa. Check the LDOP website for updates and their Facebook page
  • 18th March: Ospreys have returned to Lock of the Lowes and Rutland already. KL was first sighted on 26th March last year. This year the nest and the tree should be visible from the telescopes at the Lower Viewpoint, as the trees have been trimmed in readiness for the 2017 season.
  • 25th March: An Osprey has been sighted on the nest today - the OspreyWatch team don't know which one it is, but said it looked very much "at home".
  • 30th March: The Osprey sighted on the nest over the last few days, is actually KL, but the Team had not been able to see the ring earlier! Meanwhile, No. 14 is making good progress northwards across the Sahara Desert. It will be interesting to see if he flies over Italy and the Alps, as he did last year, before making his way back to Cumbria. Tracking maps can be found on the OspreyWatch website and their Facebook page (links above).
  • 31st March: The OspreyWatch season officially opens on Saturday, 1st April. The Team have reported seeing a second Osprey mating with KL, so it is presumed to be Unring, but driving rain sweeping across Bassenthwaite is preventing a close look at his markings. Meanwhile, No. 14 is flying north through Algeria towards the Mediterranean.
  • 9th April: KL and her mate have been fishing and adding sticks and grass to the nest. Meanwhile No. 14 has completed his journey across the Sahara and flew across the Mediterranean into the Granada region of southern Spain. On the evening of 6th April he had reached the western side of the Pyrenees.
  • 19th April: KL has now laid her 3 eggs - the 3rd on Easter Monday (17th April). There is still a 3rd Osprey in the area. No 14 has made it back to Cumbria, arriving on Easter Sunday (16th April). He has been exploring in South Cumbria, visiting the nesting Ospreys at Roudsea and Esthwaite.
  • 18th May: The first egg has hatched today!
  • 20th May: The second egg has hatched successfully!
  • 22nd May: The third egg has now hatched.
  • 7th July: At the beginning of July, the 5 week old chicks were removed from the nest for ringing. The eldest, a female, was given a blue ring, numbered U7, the middle chick, a male, was given Blue U8 and the youngest, also male, Blue U6. This year is the first time since 2009, that 3 chicks have survived to this stage. For photos and more information check the LDOP website and Facebook - see links above.
  • 18th July: All 3 chicks have now fledged successfully!
  • 26th July: The 3 chicks have been given the following names: U6 (male) - Ulysses, U7 (female) - Elter and U8 (male) - Artegal.
  • 6th August: All 3 chicks became very agitated when another pair of Ospreys visited the nest, bringing in a half eaten perch. One of the birds was ringed – blue 2H, which identified it as a male Kielder bird, hatched in 2012. He was accompanied by a small female Osprey. It is thought that this pair failed to breed this year, but the instinct to feed young Ospreys, attracted them to the Bassenthwaite nest! Apparently this is not an unusual occurrence, but it is a first for Bassenthwaite!
  • 9th August: This year a pair of Marsh Harriers nested on the National Nature Reserve below the Dodd Wood Viewpoints, and they successfully raised and fledged 2 chicks. This is a very special event as Marsh Harriers have not bred in Cumbria for over a hundred years!
  • 10th August: The Osprey female, KL, had not been seen for 10 days and it was thought she may have already left on her migration to West Africa, but she brought a trout in to the nest today. KL is usually the first one head south, leaving Dad with the chicks until the end of August/beginning of September when they leave on migration.

[edit] Birds

[edit] Notable Species

Osprey, Red Kite (28 April, 2010), Barnacle Goose (These are most probably birds from a resident flock on nearby Derwentwater), Eurasian Oystercatcher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Tawny Owl, Common Dipper, Common Redstart, European Pied Flycatcher, Eurasian Treecreeper.

Photo by HelenBSouthern end of Bassenthwaite Lake from the Lower Viewpoint, May 09. In 2011, the Ospreys built a new nest in a marshy area there
Photo by HelenB
Southern end of Bassenthwaite Lake from the Lower Viewpoint, May 09. In 2011, the Ospreys built a new nest in a marshy area there

[edit] Rarities

Red Kite ~ a total of 60 young Red Kites were released in Grizedale Forest, near Windermere, in the summers of 2010, 2011 and 2012. This is the 9th reintroduction and part of the final phase of Red Kite reintroductions in different parts of the UK. It is very likely that these wing-tagged kites will be seen over Bassenthwaite Lake as they explore the Lake District.

[edit] Check-list

Birds you can see here include:

Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Barnacle Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Osprey, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Common Pheasant, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Northern Lapwing, Common Snipe, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Common Cuckoo, Tawny Owl, Common Swift, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Eurasian Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Redstart, Eurasian Blackbird, Redwing, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, European Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Treecreeper, Common Starling, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Common Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Eurasian Siskin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Bullfinch, Lesser Redpoll, Common Crossbill

Photo by HelenBWhinlatter Visitor Centre, located in Whinlatter Forest Park, on the  B5292, west of Bassenthwaite Lake, April 2012
Photo by HelenB
Whinlatter Visitor Centre, located in Whinlatter Forest Park, on the B5292, west of Bassenthwaite Lake, April 2012

[edit] Other Wildlife

Red Squirrel, Badger, Roe Deer, Otter, Pipistrelle bat, Weasel, Stoat

[edit] Site Information

[edit] History and Use

In 2001 it was announced that a pair of Ospreys had nested in the woods above Bassenthwaite Lake. This was the first time in 150 years that a wild pair of the birds had bred in the Lake District. The Forestry Commission and the Lake District National Park Authority had provided a nesting platform in the hope that the Ospreys, they had been seeing during the summer for the last few years, would stay and breed there. Once the eggs were laid, wardens kept a 24 hour watch on the nest to protect the birds from any disturbance, such as illegal egg collecting. The RSPB is also involved in extra support for the Lake District Osprey Project.

Photo by HelenBBassenthwaite Lake, looking across to Dodd Wood and Skiddaw, from Blackstock Point, July 2015
Photo by HelenB
Bassenthwaite Lake, looking across to Dodd Wood and Skiddaw, from Blackstock Point, July 2015

[edit] Areas of Interest

  • Osprey viewing from Dodd Wood viewpoints
  • Whinlatter Visitor Centre in Whinlatter Forest Park, where there is a live video feed from the nest to a big screen. NB: Whinlatter is also a major mountain biking centre.
  • Forest walks, provided by the Forestry Commission, starting from the Dodd Wood car park.
  • Ivy Crag Wood - a small remnant of oak woodland on the slopes of Dodd below Skiddaw
  • Powterhow Wood, with a hide (blind), on the south west edge of Bassenthwaite Lake. Access from the car park at Powter How, via a nice walk through the woods, where you might see Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Wood Warblers, and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. There's a tunnel under the A66, so no road crossings involved. Or you can park in the A66 layby at Blackstock Point, and take a walk along the lake side to get there. Location shown by arrow on map referenced in External Links, below.[2]
  • Dubwath Silver Meadows, a new wetland nature reserve about 17 acres in size, located at the north west end of Bassenthwaite Lake. 1.6 mile circuit of path and boardwalk, plus hides built in Celtic style.[3]

[edit] Access and Facilities

  • The viewpoints will be open and staffed from early April to the end of August (Late Summer Bank Holiday), 2017. You may still visit the viewpoints outside of the Osprey season, for beautiful views of Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwentwater.
  • Osprey watching viewpoints are in Dodd Wood, on the east side of the lake. It is 3 miles north of Keswick off the A591, follow signposts to Dodd Wood from the A66. The car park is opposite the entrance to Mirehouse.
  • The Lower Viewpoint - open from 10am to 5pm daily and staffed by volunteers. Excellent views of the Ospreys fishing over the lake. There are feeders out for the local birds, and Red Squirrels sometimes stop by, too.
  • The Upper Viewpoint - open from 10.30am to 5pm daily. It is about half a mile, a 30 minutes walk, up a steep incline, to this higher viewpoint. There are telescopes for viewing the nest which is down on the marsh about a mile away.
  • There is no charge to use the viewpoint, but there is Pay & Display Parking at the car park by the Old Sawmill Tearoom. Please note that NO CHANGE IS GIVEN.
  • There are public toilets at the car park.
  • The Old Sawmill Tearoom at Dodd Wood is open through the Osprey season and beyond, closing at the end of October.
  • The Whinlatter Visitor Centre is located west of Braithwaite, on the B5292 between Braithwaite and Cockermouth - Grid Ref NY208245. It is open all year, and the Osprey Exhibition will be open from 10am until 5pm during the period that the ospreys are nesting. Parking charges are the same as Dodd Wood.
  • There is no longer an Osprey Bus service, due to lack of funding, but a PDF brochure showing a useful map of the area is still available online - see external links.[4]

[edit] Contact Details

Whinlatter Visitor Centre phone: 017687 78469

[edit] Gallery

Click on images to see a larger version:

Content and images originally posted by HelenB

[edit] External Links

  1. LDOP Flickr album of Osprey and Bassenthwaite photos
  2. Location of hide near Powterhow Wood
  3. Dubwath Silver Meadows Wetland Nature Reserve plus Dubwath Silver Meadows map
  4. 2010 Osprey Bus timetable and map of Bassenthwaite area


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