Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Yorkshire’s first breeding ospreys for centuries ‘nothing short of a miracle’

An adult osprey flying over Bolton Castle Estate in Wensleydale (Mike Thornley/PA)
An adult osprey flying over Bolton Castle Estate in Wensleydale (Mike Thornley/PA)

The establishment of the first breeding pair of ospreys in Yorkshire for hundreds of years “is nothing short of a miracle”, according to a conservationist.

The young adult pair, who have made their home on the Bolton Castle estate in Wensleydale, have produced two chicks – a male and a female.

Sacha Dench, known as “the human swan” for her journey following Bewick’s swans from Arctic Russia to the UK by paramotor, was visiting the nesting site in the Yorkshire Dales as part of her Flight Of The Osprey expedition, which is tracking the birds’ migration route from Scotland to Africa.

Sacha Dench visiting a nesting site
Sacha Dench visiting a nesting site in the Yorkshire Dales (New Hope/Conservation Without Borders/PA)

She met Tom Orde-Powlett, son of Lord Bolton, and others who have helped create the Yorkshire Dales nesting site.

Ms Dench said: “I am incredibly honoured to be able to visit the very first osprey breeding pair in Yorkshire. What Tom and his colleagues have achieved is nothing short of a miracle.

“Our expedition is designed to shine a light on some of the fantastic efforts organisations and individuals like Tom are making to address the challenges faced by ospreys and other migratory birds.”

Ospreys have not been recorded breeding in Yorkshire since records began in 1800 and were generally extinct in the UK until returning initially to remote parts of Scotland from Scandinavia in the 1950s.

Mr Orde-Powlett said one of his gamekeepers noticed two ospreys together in the area and this gave him the confidence that there could be a pair establishing a territory.

With the help of Mike Thornley, of Thornley Wildlife Trust, and his river keeper and former tree surgeon Brian Towers, two platforms were constructed and the birds built a nest on one.

Mike Thornley building a platform on Bolton Castle Estate
Mike Thornley building a platform on Bolton Castle Estate (Mike Thornley/PA)

The two chicks hatched in mid-June and have now been ringed.

The mother of the new chicks is known as Blue KS1 and hatched at Glaslyn in Wales in 2018, but her mate is unringed.

KS1’s mother is known as Mrs G and has been returning to Wales since 2004.

Her father, known as Aran, has been with Mrs G since 2012. It is believed that this is the first of Aran’s offspring to breed.

Mr Orde-Powlett said he has seen ospreys in the area for 20 years but in 2019 he spotted a pair and decided to stock to stock two ponds.

“We were overjoyed when they eventually built a nest on one of our platforms and we saw the hen bird apparently sitting on something – we hoped an egg – in May, which would mean potential hatching in mid-June,” he said.

“One of our keepers has taken a keen interest and has been checking the nest every day of incubation.”

Brian Towers building a nest platform
Brian Towers building a nest platform on Bolton Castle Estate (Mike Thornley/PA)

Mr Orde-Powlett added: “We were pretty confident of one chick but when we went to ring them we were thrilled to discover two, one of each sex.”

Simon Warwick, director of the Lower Ure Conservation Trust, said it appears that the adult male comes south to Nosterfield Nature Reserve, near Masham, most days to fish for chub.

“All our research indicates that this pair is the first in Yorkshire in historic times – incredibly exciting and hopefully the beginning of a Yorkshire dynasty,” he said.

The Flight Of The Osprey expedition is Ms Dench’s first since being involved in a mid-air collision which claimed the life of her cameraman, Dan Burton.

She has said her trip will be dedicated to her late colleague as much as it is for conservation.

Ms Dench survived the crash but was left with life-changing injuries.

Now, only months out of hospital, the Australian-born biologist, who still has one of her legs in a metal brace and requires crutches to walk, set off on the Flight Of The Osprey expedition on Monday.