Osprey Project29/04/2024

Osprey Pair Produce Four Eggs in Dorset for First Time

Delight in Dorset as the county’s only pair of Ospreys have produced four eggs for the first time on their Poole Harbour nest.

The first egg was laid on Monday 15th April and was celebrated by hundreds of people online who have been watching live stream webcams of the nest since the start of the season. The remaining eggs were laid every three days, with the fourth laid on the evening of Wednesday 24th April.

The pair, identifiable by their leg rings as CJ7 and 022, started breeding in Dorset in 2022 as a result of the Poole Harbour Osprey Reintroduction Project, which began in 2017 led by local charity Birds of Poole Harbour and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation.

Female Osprey CJ7 protecting her first egg on the nest, taken via Birds of Poole Harbour livestream webcam

This is the third year that the pair have bred at the site at Careys Secret Garden near Wareham, having raised three young successfully last year. It is unusual for Ospreys to lay a clutch of four eggs, usually producing only three as CJ7 and 022 have done previously. The eggs will be incubated by the pair for around 37 days, and hatching is expected to occur in the latter part of May.

The offspring reared on this nest will play an incredibly important role in building the foundation of the recovering population of Osprey on the South Coast. Before the reintroduction project, Ospreys had been missing from our landscape as a breeding bird for 180 years because of historical persecution. The fact that they have laid four eggs this year is even more exciting as we are watching the first steps of recovery on the South Coast, and the more young that are successfully raised on this nest adds to the number that could return to Dorset to breed themselves in future years. We’re looking forward to seeing what unfolds for the rest of this season. ” – Liv Elwood, Charity Manager at Birds of Poole Harbour

People who enjoy streaming the webcam online were able to watch the nest from a different perspective last year as Birds of Poole Harbour and Careys Secret Garden formed a partnership to enable the public to visit the site and view the nest through guided tours. 

These events were carefully managed to ensure that the safety of the nesting birds were prioritised, and to prevent any disturbance while still allowing hundreds of people to enjoy watching the important nest. Earlier this month, they announced that these events were returning again for 2024, and are now bookable online.

Careys Secret Garden is delighted to see CJ7 and 022 back on the nest this year. It’s a real privilege to share our space with them and watch the events of the season unfurl. We look forward to warmly welcoming the public back in 2024 following a hugely successful year last year.” – Simon Constantine, Careys Secret Garden Founder

To ensure the protection of the nesting pair again this year, pre-booking is essential for these tours which can be found on the Birds of Poole Harbor website (www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk), along with more information about the project.

Male Osprey 022 with the four eggs

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