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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 07:05 GMT
Osprey nest 'soap opera' success
Osprey nest, RSPB Glaslyn Osprey Project at Pont Croesor near Porthmadog
The new nest will have a second camera and will be wired for sound
The only pair of ospreys to breed in Wales in 2005 have become "like soap opera stars", the RSPB has claimed.

The bird conservation charity said more than 75,000 people watched the parents rear two chicks at a protected site near Porthmadog, Gwynedd.

A webcam trained on their man-made nest was so popular the birds will find two cameras and a microphone there when, it is hoped, they return next year.

RSPB officer, Emyr Evans, said: "We want to keep up with the soap story."

He said the key to the fish-eating birds' popularity was the live feed from the webcam, revealing life inside the nest, relayed onto a large plasma screen at the visitor centre.

Next year, the charity plans to give a fresh angle on the feathered family's life with a second camera looking just over the rim of the nest.

Also, a microphone would for the first time let people hear what was going on.

Osprey in flight
The birds caught fish in the nearby river to feed their growing chicks

"A lot of local people came in every day to keep up with the soap opera. That's how we pulled in 75,000 people - it was something like a soap story," said Mr Evans.

"People who happened to be in the area heard about it. People got engaged in it.

"First there was one chick, then two chicks. Then one fledged the nest and then the other - they got quite involved with them.

"It was great watching the live net cam images, but it was a bit like watching a natural history programme with the sound down. The microphone will just give that extra dimension."

'Sexy species'

Mr Evans added: "They are quite vocal birds, they do distress calls, hunger calls, contact calls. A lot of this we could actually hear.

"Next year we should be able to hear them as well as watch them."

The plan to increase camera footage from the nest is to be explained at a meeting of around three dozen organisations which help fund the RSPB project at Beddgelert in Gwynedd, on Thursday.

Mr Evans said the parent birds, currently wintering in west Africa, are expected back in March 2006, and it was hoped they would return to the nest for the third year running.

The viewing hide and visitor centre is to open again at that time.

He added: "Ospreys sell themselves. They draw attention to themselves. They are a sexy species."

Second osprey chick hatches out
12 Jun 05 |  North West Wales
Welsh osprey makes history
20 Aug 04 |  Wales
Lake's ospreys hatch first chick
05 Jun 04 |  Cumbria

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