History of the project
The Llyn Brenig Osprey project began in 2013. We built the first nests using wood recovered from the visitor centre when the café was redeveloped in the previous winter. These were used to put together the basic structure of 3 nesting platforms. They were mounted on telegraph poles around the site,that were felt to be sufficiently quiet, yet also accessible for maintenance by cherry pickers.
A year later, Welsh Water undertook a 4 metre drain down of the reservoir. We took this opportunity to put up one nesting platform on “Duck Island” which had temporarily reconnected to the mainland, and the other on foreshore, knowing that both would be re-surrounded by water, once the reservoir was refilled.
By 2015, the first signs of success were beginning to emerge. A young male known as CU2 “Jimmy” decided to call the area its home.
Sadly, CU2 was electrocuted on electricity pylons the same year, setting the project back. Sightings continued over the following years of ospreys using the area. But in 2017, there was a breakthrough. A pair of birds stayed in the area for the whole of the nesting season, showing a strong preference for the Brenig platform that had been put in the water.
In 2018, the team decided to focus all preparation effort on the nest they had shown such interest in during 2017. Trail cameras were mounted and extra perches were added, both on the nest and in nearby woodland.
A matter of days after it was prepared for the year ahead, a female osprey arrived, ringed Blue 24. Shortly afterwards, after a few tours of North Wales, she settled back on the nest, along with her new partner HR7. By late April it was clear that a serious nesting attempt was underway, and although problems with the camera made it difficult to verify, it was concluded that there were chicks on the nest by early June. It was the first hatched ospreys verified in the area in over 100 years. The rest, as they say, is history.
Our female, Blue 24, is a bird that fledged from Rutland Water. Interestingly, her natal nest is also a nesting platform set in water (the Manton Bay nest). Is it just co-incidence that she chose the nest in the water? We’ll never know, but it’s nice to think that’s the reason why.
Our male osprey, HR7 exchanged his homelands of Aberfoyle in Scotland for the lakes and hills of Wales. We don’t know a great deal about HR7. But Blue 24 has some history in Wales before coming to us. She’s quite old to have a first successful nest at the age of 8. She attempted to nest elsewhere in previous years, sadly ending in failure. Her new nesting location is a much better choice, being close to an abundant food source with minimal energy expenditure required to hunt, protected from ground predators like pine marten, and away from other nests.
HR7 and Blue 24 raised a single female chick in 2018. The chick, ringed Blue Z9, was named Luned, after a character in the Mabinogion. We hope to see Luned again in 2020 when she should return to the Wales for the first time from Africa.
Watching Ospreys at Brenig
Why not come and see these magnificent birds up close for yourself at Brenig? With a scope, you can see the pair nesting from a safe distance from Sailing Club Bay from April to the end of August.
Watch this space for developments towards a specially constructed hide that could get you within 150m without disturbing them. If you are a photography enthusiast you will be pleased to know that part of the hide will be adapted to facilitate the use of long lenses for the perfect shot.