Osprey at Ranworth by Lynne Warner

Will Norfolk osprey make East Anglian wildlife history?

Thursday 13 April, 2023

We have confirmed regular sightings of a male osprey at our Ranworth Broad nature reserve, leading to hopes that it may become the first osprey to breed in East Anglia in over 250 years. 


Visitors to our Ranworth Broad reserve have been able to easily spot the osprey as he is often found sitting on a newly created platform within view of the visitor centre.  


Ospreys are migratory birds, present in the UK in summer and currently nest in parts of Scotland, Cumbria, the East Midlands and Wales. It is not unusual, on migration, to see a travelling osprey over any large body of water, with the Norfolk Broads often playing host to several en route to Scotland.  


Individuals often stay longer at Ranworth, even spending the best part of the summer at the site. In 2022 a pair was present for most of the summer, so during the following winter, having taken advice, our wonderful staff and volunteers constructed a roosting platform in the trees alongside the broad. This spring the male has returned and along with displaying and calling, he has begun showing interest in the strategically placed artificial nest site. 


Adam Pimble, our Nature Conservation Operations Manager, explains the rising excitement felt by our staff and visitors alike: ‘Whilst osprey often drop in on Ranworth as they move through on migration during the spring, this male bird is certainly showing signs that he would be happy to stay if a mate arrives.  


“If he stays and luck brings his mate back too, this could be the first breeding pair of osprey in the Broads for nearly 250 years. We would usually expect a female to arrive around four weeks after the male, so the next few weeks are going to be nail biting waiting to see if she arrives.  


“Sadly there is no guarantee, as habitat destruction, pollution and continuing persecution makes migrating a perilous affair. With some luck and lots of hope, who knows, we may be celebrating another conservation success story for Norfolk.” 


Lorna Parker, our Ranworth Broad Senior Visitor Centre Coordinator, said: “It has been really inspiring seeing the osprey at the new nesting platform this spring. They are stunning birds to watch hunting, spectacularly plunging feet first into water to catch fish.  


“We’ve had a rush of visitors heading to the reserve to catch sight of our special visitor, and are really enjoying sharing this wonderful bird with everyone that comes in search of him. Whilst a sighting isn’t guaranteed, with a bit of patience he can be spotted most days.” 


As well as getting good views of the osprey from the visitor centre, we also offer boat trips into the broad that can give visitors even closer views of the new osprey platform. 


For more information about NWT Ranworth Broad and our boat trips visit: norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk or call the visitor centre on 01603 270479. 


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