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Bassenthwaite Lake

From Opus

Revision as of 15:52, 18 August 2011 by HelenB (Talk | contribs)
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



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.

  • 2nd April, 2011: The 2011 season begins ~ a female Opsrey has been seen flying around the area and sitting on the nest looking very at home.
  • 11th April: Both Ospreys are now back and have been observed mating on the nest. The webcam is up and running and images are updated every 10 minutes from 10am to 3pm daily, but apparently the Ospreys have decided to move house and are currently building a new nest down by the lake, so the webcam is showing an empty nest!
  • 14th April: A photo of the new nest has been posted on the Flickr Daily Diary. Apparently the adults began making a nest in that tree in summer 2010, after the chicks had fledged, but since returning this year they have constructed a new nest higher in that tree.
  • 21st May: The Daily Diary reports that the egg/eggs are due to hatch any day now. The first egg was laid on 16th April, but it has not been possible to tell whether she has laid 1, 2 or 3. Osprey eggs normally hatch within 35 to 39 days. Check the Daily Diary on Flickr for a photo of the new nest.
  • 27th May: Latest news: Mrs began feeding a chick on Friday, 27th May. The nest cup is so deep in the new nest that it is impossible to see how many chicks there are! No-ring is doing a great job catching lots of fish to feed the youngster/s.
  • 7th June: No-ring has been bringing sticks up to the nest to construct a safer "playpen" for the chick/chicks.
  • 28th June: Nothing new to be reported about our Opsreys, as it is still not possible to see how many chicks there are. Only one fluffy head has been seen so far. There is news of 'YW', a chick hatched from the 2008 season ~ it was photographed catching a perch at the Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve in N. Lancs on 19th June. See the Daily Diary for the photo.
  • 8th July: The chicks were supposed to be ringed and fitted with their satellite transmitters today, but the tree holding the new nest is in the middle of a very marshy field and it was impossible to get the truck, provided by Electricity Northwest, on site to raise the person collecting the chicks from the nest! So the chicks will not be ringed or fitted with their transmitters this year.
  • 19th July: Both Osprey chicks fledged today. Pan at 8.45 am and Hal 2 hours later. Both maiden flights were successful and both chicks returned to the nest safely.
  • 18th August: The Osprey family can now be seen wheeling about valley as a family. It won't be long before Mrs takes off on her migration south to winter in West Africa. She's always the first to leave and last year was followed by the 2 young males on 24th and 27th August respectively. They were successfully tracked to their wintering grounds in Senegal and Mauritania, where chick #12 is still being monitored as he moves around his winter home. Sadly chick #11 met an early death and his body was eventually recovered with the satellite transmitter in good condition. Unfortunately, this year the chicks could not be ringed or fitted with satellite transmitters, due to the new location of the nest in a very marshy field at the southern end of Bassenthwaite Lake. Over the 11 years that No-ring and his 2 mates have bred in the Bassenthwaite valley, he has fathered 23 chicks. If you go to the Daily Diary for 16th August, the Osprey team have posted a video of No-ring bringing in a slippery live fish for the chicks! A Marsh Harrier was seen around the reed beds at the end of the lake on 15th August. It is thought to be a juvenile on migration from the Solway area.


Notable Species

Osprey, Red Kite (28 April, 2010), Barnacle Goose (5 June, 2010 - photo below right. 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 oncebitternThe unusual sight of 10 Barnacle Geese over Bassenthwaite Lake, 5 June 2010. Click on image to see a larger version
Photo by oncebittern
The unusual sight of 10 Barnacle Geese over Bassenthwaite Lake, 5 June 2010.
Click on image to see a larger version
Photo by charlierockyThe pair of Ospreys using the nest in the new location for a second year, April 2009
Photo by charlierocky
The pair of Ospreys using the nest in the new location for a second year, April 2009


Red Kite ~ 30 young Red Kites were released in Grizedale Forest, near Windermere, at the beginning of August, 2010. This is the 9th reintroduction and part of the final phase of Red Kite reintroductions in different parts of the UK. 60 more will be released in the next 2 years. It is very likely that these wing-tagged kites will be seen over Bassenthwaite Lake as they explore the Lake District.


Birds you can see here include:

Great Crested Grebe, 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, Common Woodpigeon, 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, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, European Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Treecreeper, Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Eurasian Bullfinch, Lesser Redpoll, Common Crossbill, House Sparrow, Common Starling, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Common Raven

Other Wildlife

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

Site Information

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.

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]

Access and Facilities

  • Both viewpoints will be open and staffed from 2nd April, 2011 to 31st August, 2011 (approximate date). 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. No views of the nest, but excellent views of the Ospreys fishing over the lake.
  • The Upper Viewpoint - open from 10am 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 only 400m away.
  • There is no charge to use the viewpoint, but car parking charges are as follows: £1.60 for 1.5 hours, £2.50 for 2 hours, £4.50 for 4 hours and £5.80 for all day (2010 rates).
  • 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.
  • There will be no Osprey Bus running for the 2011 season, due to lack of funding. A PDF brochure showing a useful map of the area is still available online for the 2010 season - see external links.[4]

Contact Details

Whinlatter Visitor Centre phone: 017687 78469


Click on images to see a larger version:

Content and images originally posted by HelenB

External Links

  1. Daily video diary of Osprey activities
  2. Location of hide near Powterhow Wood
  3. Dubwath Silver Meadows Wetland Nature Reserve plus Dubwath Silver Meadows info and map
  4. 2010 Osprey Bus timetable and map of Bassenthwaite area


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