Ospreys are no stranger to fame and attention – their pursuits have been followed closely by nestcams in the locations where it breeds: Speyside and Perth in Scotland, Kielder, Cumbria and East Midlands in England, and the Dyfi Valley in Wales. A migratory bird, it is present in the UK in summer. The Osprey is this month’s Featured Image. Ospreys eat fish, catching them in spectacular fashion as they dive towards lakes and lochs, stretch out their talons and scooping them out of the water with ease.

‘Osprey’ by CRUSH Photography©

How to identify

The osprey is a brown-and-white bird which could possibly be mistaken for a seagull at a distance. The osprey is a large bird of prey with dark brown upperparts and contrasting white underparts that can appear mottled in females. Their heads are white with a dark brown through their eyes. Their wings during flight show strong barring and distinctively dark brown, angled ‘wrists’.

‘Osprey’ by CRUSH Photography©

Distribution

Nests in parts of Scotland, Cumbria, the East Midlands and Wales. Can also be spotted at large waterbodies across the country during migration.

Habitats

  • Freshwater
  • Wetlands

Did you know?

Ospreys migrate to West Africa during winter; satellite tracking has shown them flying up to 430 km in just one day. It takes them about 20 flying days to complete the journey, but, in autumn, birds stop off to refuel at lakes and reservoirs.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

CRUSH Photography©

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Acknowledgements: Extracts taken from The Wildlife Trusts

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  1. Swallows belong to the family Hirundininae which also includes martins. There are 84 recognised species worldwide.
  2. They are not even distantly related to swifts.
  3. Our familiar swallow, Hirundo rustica, is generally known as the barn swallow. It breeds throughout the Northern Hemisphere including every European country except Iceland.
  4. The barn swallow is the world’s most widespread swallow but several similar species breed in Africa. Australia’s welcome swallow is also closely related.
  5. In Norway and Finland swallows nest well north of the Arctic Circle.
  6. European swallows mostly winter in Africa south of the Sahara. Curiously, populations from the British Isles and northern Europe winter farther south than those from central and southern Europe, flying all the way to Botswana and South Africa.
  7. A few regularly spend the winter in southern Spain.
‘Swallow’ Image by CRUSH Photography©
  1. They like to nest in open-fronted buildings such as barns, stables and cowsheds.
  2. It takes a pair of swallows up to 1,200 journeys to build a nest. Only the female lines the nest.
  3. Swallows like to nest close to large domestic animals like cattle or horses. The decline in dairy farming in the UK and the resulting increase in arable farming has not suited the species.
  4. Most British swallows try to rear two broods each summer and some succeed in raising three.
  5. Europe’s population is thought to number about 15 million individuals, with the biggest numbers in Poland and Bulgaria. Britain’s 1 million ranks us in eleventh place.
  6. Red-rumped swallows are spreading steadily north from the Mediterranean and small numbers of over shooting birds occur here every spring.
  7. Swallows were likely to have been much rarer before man started practising agriculture and animal husbandry.
‘Juvenile Swallow’ Image by CRUSH Photography©
  1. While Mediterranean swallows often fledge their first broods in April, birds that breed in northern Scandinavia seldom arrive before the third week of May.
  2. The male swallow invariably arrives back first from migration, singing over his territory in the hope of attracting a mate. Females generally appear a week to a fortnight later.
  3. Male and female swallows are virtually identical in appearance.
  4. They will readily adopt artificial nests that resemble their own mud-built constructions.
  5. Much folklore surrounds the swallow. To see the first swallow of the year is regarded as a good omen. In Russia songs were written to celebrate their return after the long, cold winter.
  6. Before the mysteries of migration were understood, it was thought that swallows spent the winter buried in the mud of ponds and lakes.
  7. Swallows always drink on the wing, flying low to sip the water.
‘Swallow’ Image by CRUSH Photography©

CRUSH Photography©

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2019 CRUSH Photography©
Acknowledgements: Extract taken from 'Living with Birds'

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A British single-seat fighter aircraft, the Supermarine Spitfire was used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II. Many variants were built, using several wing configurations, and it was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter produced continuously throughout the war. The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts; nearly 60 remain airworthy, and many more are static exhibits in aviation museums throughout the world.

‘The Supermarine Sptitfire’ (Image by CRUSH Photography)

The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works, which operated as a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong from 1928. Mitchell pushed the Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing with cutting-edge sunken rivets (designed by Beverley Shenstone) to have the thinnest possible cross-section, helping give the aircraft a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane. Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith took over as chief designer, overseeing the Spitfire’s development through its multitude of variants.

CRUSH Photography

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2019 CRUSH Photography©
Acknowledgements: Extract taken from Wikipedia

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