Trent Valley Osprey Project

picture of our osprey project volunteersVolunteers from Toyota creating a nest at Willington

We are working with our partners on an exciting project to bring ospreys back to the Trent Valley and beyond.

Ospreys are migratory birds of prey which travel to Britain in spring to breed before returning to Africa during the winter period.

The Trent Valley is a significant flyway and stopping off point for ospreys on their migration to and from Scotland. However, because they traditionally return to the area where they were born the probability of breeding ospreys in the valley has been virtually nil.

There is a successful population of breeding birds at Rutland Water and with a growing number of young returning, they are likely to start seeking new nesting sites away from established pairs.

The Trent Valley is not far from Rutland Water (65 km from Willington and only 47 km from Attenborough) and if nest platforms are provided we hope that birds, particularly males, may spread into the valley from the Rutland population.

We have been installing nest platforms at several sites in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Trent Valley and are hoping to extend the project into Staffordshire.

Ospreys at Rutland Water

After a slow recovery of ospreys in Scotland since 1954 there has been an increase in sightings of them in England. At Rutland Water and other sites, artificial nesting platforms were erected in the hope of persuading migrating birds to stay and breed, but this proved unsuccessful and it was clear that a more proactive approach was needed.

In the mid 1990s Anglian Water and the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust began a re-introduction project in collaboration with Roy Dennis and the Highland Foundation. The aim was to re-establish breeding birds in central England.

Between 1996 and 2001, 64 juvenile birds were translocated from Scotland to Rutland in the hope that they would view Rutland as their natal site and return in future breeding seasons.

The first birds returned in 1999 and in 2001 a translocated male and an unringed female bred for the first time. Breeding has taken place each year since. In 2007 a significant milestone was reached when the first Rutland bred chick returned and bred.

Since that time the population has slowly developed to its current levels.

Trent Valley Project Updates


Early spring 2011: Platform erected by Severn Trent Water volunteers at Carsington Water

23rd June 2011: Platform erected at Toyota by volunteers from its staff

19th July 2011: Platform erected at Willington Gravel Pits Nature Reserve by Toyota volunteers

21st July 2011: Platform erected at Drakelow Nature Reserve by Toyota volunteers

April 2012: Tree platform erected near Staunton Harold Reservoir by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

August 2012: Platform erected near Shardlow by Toyota trainees and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Spring 2013: Platform erected at Carsington Water by Severn Trent and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Spring 2013: Platform erected on the Calke Abbey estate by the National Trust

Summer 2014:  Platform erected near Ogston funded by Ogston bird club


Winter 2010/11: Platform erected at Besthorpe Nature Reserve using local volunteers

Spring 2014:   Platform erected at Attenborough Nature reserve by NWT – easily viwable from the new sand martin hide


2012: A platform was erected near Blithfield reservoir by local volunteers

April 2013: Platform erected near Catton

Additional News

In April 2012 we received a all about a potential osprey at Willington. This turned out to be an elaborate hoax, a plywood bird having been fixed to the perching pole.

In spring 2013, the Trust and Toyota visited many of the platforms to get them ready for the 2013 season. During the visit to Willington an osprey was seen over the main pool before heading north. There have been plenty of sightings of ospreys across Derbyshire this spring, so hopefully our platforms haven't gone un-noticed.

Thank you

Thank you to the following organisations for their help

Toyota - use of their site and volunteers plus funding for three platforms

Toyota also worked with the following companies who helped contribute to the project: Beck & Pollitzer (delivery of poles); Erics (supplied materials); Steve Hope and M&M (helped in moving poles at Willington); Roger Bullivant (helped erect poles at Drakelow)

Western Power Distribution - supply of poles for other sites

Abru - donated ladder and provided ladder training

Derbyshire Ornithological Society

Landowners involved with the project are: E-On, Toyota, Severn Trent Water, Hanson Aggregates, National Trust

 Special thanks to all the volunteers who have helped, especially Mike Walsh and Anne Hufton who have been instrumental in getting the platforms up.