Ospreys spotted at Esthwaite Water

A CELEBRITY has landed in South Lakeland – and this one has feathers.

Witnesses saw two rare ospreys flying along the quiet waters of Esthwaite, near Hawkshead.

The large birds of prey have been seen diving down from the sky to pluck trout from the waters several times a day.

Both birds are believed to be nesting in a secret woodland location.

Nigel Woodhouse, owner of Esthwaite Trout Fishery and proprietor of the lake, revealed the existence of the birds for the first time this week, after keeping it a secret for several years.

The 52-year-old, who has been at the centre for 32 years, said a handful of people knew of the ospreys but had kept quiet until they had settled.

It is hoped their chicks will make an appearance this August.

Mr Woodhouse said: “One comes to the lake almost every day – sometimes making four fishing trips. It’s a great sign for the lake.

“You can tell when he’s coming because he agitates the other birds. You can see them twitching.

“Ospreys aren’t shy. They will dive down next to the fishermen in their boats and pick the fish out of the water.”

Mr Woodhouse said the osprey pair had successfully bred a chick last year, suggesting they had made South Lakeland their summer home.

He hopes the birds will become local stars and help turn the quiet waters of Esthwaite into a visitor attraction.

This year Mr Woodhouse will offer two-hour Osprey Safari trips by boat, taking visitors across the lake. It will help them to understand the ospreys’ habitat, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and hopefully they will catch a glimpse of the birds in flight.

“These ospreys are like celebrities – they are a great asset to the lake.

“I’ve seen water quality improve here over the years and I’ve watched nature come back. We want to bring it right back to pristine condition.”

Ospreys have been returning to Bassenthwaite Lake for a number of years and have become a tourist draw. The Lake District Osprey Watch Project and Forestry Commission have provided a haven for the birds to breed after being absent from the Lake District for around 150 years.

Mr Woodhouse aims to attract more families to Esthwaite, which is featured in several Beatrix Potter drawings.