NATURE enthusiasts have set themselves a major challenge – in a bid to encourage one of country’s most magnificent birds of prey to a Derbyshire reservoir.
Volunteers installed four nesting platforms at Carsington Water, on Tuesday and Wednesday, which they hope will tempt Osprey to the area.
The impressive birds are large, long-winged hawks, about 26 inches long and live along sea coasts and waterways, where they catch fish.
Senior volunteer ranger David Bennett said the 23-feet-high platforms, had been erected in time for April when the birds return from their winter in South Africa.
They have been installed at known flight paths for Ospreys and covered with sticks to attract breeding birds.
He added: “We all came away feeling very pleased and knowing we had done a good job.
“Visitors are always asking me if they will see Osprey at Carsington. There has been a progressive increase in the number of reported sightings year on year for the last 11 years and there have been reports of Osprey catching and eating fish from the reservoir.
“To have a successful breeding programme would be incredible and it would bring real kudos to say we have Osprey here.”
The project was launched following a successful breeding programme at Rutland Water and the Rutland Wildlife Trust is encouraging organisations to try and tempt the birds to other parts of the UK.
Mr Bennett, of Derby, a volunteer at Carsington for 14 years, said attracting the birds to the area would be a major boost for the tourism industry. Over one million visitors go to Carsington already each year, many of them bird watchers.
He added: “People do get really thrilled when they see an Osprey.
“They are very dramatic birds with wide wing spans and if you see them catch a fish it is incredible to see the strength in their wings as they lift it out of the water.
“Carsington Water is an ideal location for Osprey with both a large water area and the Brown Trout which is their favourite.
“We can only hope that the hard work will pay off.
“Nesting birds will only serve to enhance the popularity of this top Derbyshire birding site.”
The major project, which has been planned and led by the volunteer ranger team, has been gathering momentum since September with sponsorship and money raised by volunteer rangers.
The posts have been erected near the Sheepwash car park and the Millfields car park.