Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Next Term 10: Osprey

When these classes began 11 years ago Ospreys weren't even on my radar for possible species we might see. So, it was with absolute amazement on the 6th of May 2009 when the Wednesday morning group had just climbed a hill in Holderness, if that isn't a contradiction in terms, when I spotted a large raptor heading straight towards us. It eventually passed just above us, heading in a north-easterly direction. Unfortunately, it decided not to stop off and fish from the lakes just behind us.
Osprey (c) 2015 Tony Robinson
Since that orgasmic experience the same group have watched another Osprey catching and carrying fish at Spurn Point, and another just hanging around on Hatfield Moors. We certainly don't expect to see an Osprey every year, but we are overdue for another sighting this spring. 
Osprey with Fish (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Osprey with Fish (c) 2016 Aileen Urquhart
Osprey are fairly large raptors with very long wings, and usually a noticeable kink, or elbow, may be seen in the wing. They are very white underneath with brown upperparts. The brown line through the eye can be a diagnostic feature on a good sighting. Of course a large raptor with a fish in its talons should help to narrow down identification! 
Osprey (c) 2015 Tony Robinson
The recovery of this species, and protection by the RSPB and other conservation agencies is well documented, and there's no need to go into all that here. As far as I know there isn't a single breeding record of this exciting species in Yorkshire since 1900, but hopefully measures will soon be taken all over Yorkshire to erect possible artificial nesting platforms to encourage it to nest in God's own county in the near future.  
The original silhouette in 2009

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