Ospreys at Lower Mill Estate in the Cotswolds

Attracting Ospreys to Lower Mill Estate

Dr Phoebe and her industrious grounds team have been working hard to attract these fantastic birds to the Estate

Ospreys are awe-inspiring birds of prey. They are a migratory species, with British ospreys spending the breeding season (March-September) in the UK, then migrating to Africa for the winter.  It is during the spring and autumn as they travel to and from Africa that some of these birds pass over the Cotswold Water Park and there are often sightings over Lower Mill Estate.

The main requirement for these birds is a good supply of medium-sized fish which can be caught from the surface of the water. But if we want them to stop and breed we also need to offer them suitable nesting sites. Ospreys generally build nests at the top of prominent trees so we have created two artificial nesting sites at Lower Mill  – one on Freeth Mere that was repaired in 2017 and one on Swillbrook Lakes.

The platform on Swillbrook Lakes had fallen into disrepair over the last 15 years with no one brave enough to head up the tree to maintain it. That is until last week when our fantastic grounds team scaled the very tall tree holding the platform, built a new nest and repaired the nest site. A good head for heights was definitely needed and we are really grateful for their help and enthusiasm, doing this in their own time so they didn’t lose precious time looking after the rest of the Estate.

Attracting ospreys is never easy but with ospreys returning to breed annually at Rutland Water and with chicks being raised and released at Poole Harbour in Dorset, we are hopeful that one day the osprey we see on migration may choose to stay and breed at Lower Mill Estate. Nesting platforms are also being put up at our sister site, Silverlake, Dorset.

Let’s keep everything crossed that one day soon we will see these incredible birds of prey on our sites and the efforts of our grounds team will be rewarded.

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