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. She shares the same ancestry as Blue 3J, the female bird that bred at the Dyfi Osprey Project in 2018.
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. In 2019, the pair successfully reared another chick, this time a male, ringed KA9, and named Roli, after the character in "One Moonlit Night" by Caradog Pritchard. 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? We have formed a partnership project with both the North Wales Wildlife Trust and RSPB, that gives you plenty of options. With scopes available for free from the North Wales Wildlife Trust, you can see the pair nesting from a safe distance from Sailing Club Bay from April to the end of August.
For photographers that want a more exclusive experience, we have a specially constructed hide that gets you within 150m of the nest. You will only be sharing with one other photopgraper at most. The hide is kitted out with 1 way glass, snoods, gimbals and even comfy seats! We will be taking bookings for two hour sessions in the afternoons from mid April 2019 onwards. Each session is priced at £55 per person and there is a limit of 2 people per session.
Alternatively, you can book a place in the photography hide for a shorter period of time, as part of a group,with the RSPB.
For all bookings, please ring the Visitor Centre shop on 01490 389227.