Osprey Project19/03/2020

New Poole Harbour Osprey Nest Webcam Goes Live

A new Osprey nest webcam which live streams from a secret site within Poole Harbour has gone live for public viewing. The camera which was installed by local charity Birds of Poole Harbour and funded through a public fundraiser that ran over the Christmas period live streams a man-made Osprey nest within the harbour. The charity hopes the nest gets utilised this spring, which if successful will be the first nesting attempt of Osprey in Southern England for the first time in nearly 200 years.

The Birds of Poole Harbour charity in partnership with the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and local tech firm Wildlife Windows began a 5-year Osprey reintroduction scheme back in 2017 with the aim of re-establishing a south coast breeding population of Osprey after they were made extinct due to human persecution 180 years ago. The charity have been relocating wild Osprey chicks from Scotland and raising them here in Poole Harbour for the last three years and spring 2020 could be the first time the project team see’s a nesting attempt here in the harbour.

Charity co-founder Paul Morton explained;

‘This is such an exciting time for the project, as we could see the first nesting attempt this year as Osprey begin to migrate back from West Africa. Last year saw the first return of one of our chicks from 2017, a young male called LS7 and he immediately hit it off with a female called CJ7 that had been hanging around the harbour for a number of summers. We set up camera traps on nest platforms last spring and got some incredible photos of the pair together. Last year he was too young to breed, but this spring he should hopefully now be thinking about raising a family”

LS7 & CJ7 photographed on nest platform in summer 2019 on camera trap

Last year the pair spent the whole of the summer in Poole Harbour pair-bonding and were even seen occasionally nest building on several nest platforms around the harbour. It’s hoped that both LS7 and CJ7 return safely from West Africa over the next few weeks and settle on one of the nest platforms that have been erected locally.

Paul added;

“The truth is, we have no idea what’s going to happen this spring or summer but based on our knowledge of other Osprey nesting sites in the UK and the behaviour exhibited by LS7 and CJ7 last summer, we can make an educated guess on how things might pan out this year. We were keen to get a webcam set up on a Poole Harbour nest platform so that the local community can also enjoy this historic moment. There’s every chance they may decide not to nest on the platform we’ve put the camera on, and in fact choose to nest somewhere else. Well, if that’s the case we’ll just wait until the end of the summer and for the Ospreys to leave before moving the camera in time for next spring as Osprey are extremely faithful to nest sites. There will almost certainly be Osprey activity of sorts on our nest web cam during the spring, summer and autumn for people to enjoy though”

 The camera and it’s installation was funded by a public fundraiser campaign as well as generous donations by Osprey Europe and the Fine Family Foundation. The project partners hope that with the current local and global situation, this virtual connection to nature will provide a welcome distraction for anyone in self isolation, as well as potential learning opportunities for parents that are beginning to home school due to the recent school closures. The charity has several other live webcams including a busy feeding station at Livability Holton Lee and nesting islands on the Dorset Wildlife Trust Brownsea Lagoon all of which provide a fascinating insight into the busy lives of our feathered friends.

The project team have partnered with the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the Dorset Police Rural Crime Team to ensure the long-term protection of any nesting attempt around the harbour.

Claire Dinsdale from the Dorset Wildlife Crime Team explained

“Ospreys are a schedule one species in the UK meaning they have the highest level of protection under the wildlife and countryside act, therefore making it an offence to disturb them on or around their nesting sites. It’s hoped that the new nest cam will provide the public with the opportunity to see the nesting process of this incredible bird with viewing access of the nest later negotiated with any landowners if it’s safe and responsible to do so. We’re seeking the public’s cooperation in not mentioning on social media where the webcam nest is, as not to increase the risk of disturbance in the early part of the breeding season.

Birds of prey are unfortunately target and victims of crime, often with immense suffering. We will robustly investigate any suspicious death and bring the offenders to justice. We will also take action against those who disturb these magnificent birds, especially when nesting. This includes use of drones or photography”

If any willdife crime is in progress, call 999. Anyone with information can contact Dorset Police atwww.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or call 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

For more information on wildlife crime visit the National Wildlife Crime Unit’s website atwww.nwcu.police.uk.

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