Sorry that should read OSPREY ! OSPREY ! OSPREY !
Not one, nor two but three.
I go walking most weeks in the Cheviots usually, with my mate Jeff "Mr. Cheviots" Veevers but yesterday we decided to do Hadrians Wall and a circular route from and back to Steel Rigg. Now bear in mind we were out walking not birding and i always take my bins and compact camera just in case there is something worth recording. Jeff is into photography more than birding and he had his Nikoff DSLR but only a 70m.m. lens as he was only expecting to take some landscapes, weather permitting.
The weather as it turned out wasn't brilliant with very gusty strong winds, lots of cloud cover with occasional sunshine and some squally showers. We left heading east following the wall itself passing Crag Lough to our left which disappointingly had absolutely nothing on it. Before Housesteads we turned north onto the Pennine Way crossing Jenkins Burn with Broomlee Lough some little distance to our right. Again this body of water held no birds and to date we had seen plenty Meadow Pipits, all the Hirundines and Skylarks but not much else. Having followed the Pennine Way for 2.5 km. northwards we turned off as we reached Stonefolds and headed west which soon had us skirting Greenlee Lough but at a distance of at least 150 metres. Eventually we got closer to the lough and came across a signpost indicating that there was a hide. We had only been in the hide for a few minutes when we heard a loud shrill "Pieu, Pieu" and Jeff and i looked at each other. An Osprey immediately came into view, followed by another seconds later. No sooner had we taken this fantastic spectacle in then a third bird joined the other two. Jeff and i were panic stricken by now fumbling about in bags for cameras to record what we were watching. The original sighting lasted about 3 minutes with the birds moving about independently hunting for fish before disappearing behind the tree line. On another 4 occasions birds could be seen but at greater distance, i saw one dive into the water feet first but when it came up it did not have any prey in its talons. Here are 3 not so good images captured in our frenzy courtesy of Jeff.
The images are not the best but thy are something of a record. It seems obvious that there were a pair of adults and a juvenile but it was a bit frantic.
Leaving the hide to continue our walk took us on the 500 metres of boardwalk installed over the fragile wet habitats surrounding the water. Species in this area include Sphagnum Mosses, Cranberry, Bog Asphodel, Marsh Cinquefoil and Devils-bit Scabious amongst others. White-clawed Crayfish are known to be present also along with Large Heath butterflies that feed in the grasses.
This is Northumberlands largest natural lake and as you can imagine is a SSSI and National Nature Reserve.
I will be returning in the next couple of weeks not only to try to get more sightings of the Ospreys but also to explore the areas flora and fauna.