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Page last updated at 08:23 GMT, Friday, 9 October 2009 09:23 UK
Winter recess for Osprey project
Osprey chicks
The osprey chicks during the ringing process

Although Cumbria's ospreys have made their winter flight back to Africa, work continues behind the scenes for the 2010 season.

This year the project embraced social networking meaning more people have been able to access the spectacle.

The pair of ospreys which nested in the Lake District in 2001 became the first wild osprey to breed there for over 150 years.

It's estimated that they now boost the local economy by up to £2m every year.

Number of eggs laid: Usually three
Incubation period: About 35 days
Fledgling period: About 53 days

Satellite nest views

For a project that has been running since 2001, there have been some substantial changes in technology.

The 2009 season saw live streaming video for the first time, and this meant that incredible close-up views from the nest could be seen around the world.

The first rig for the webcam was so basic that the cable running from the viewing hut to the PC was chewed through by a wild creature, taking the service offline.

Now the live pictures are transmitted via satellite broadband, well out of the way of woodland animals.

Osprey chick
Osprey chick handled during the ringing process

Ospreys start Twittering

The spectacle of the birds' activities on their nest has mainly been a Cumbria-based pleasure in past years, but this year social networking has brought the project to a truly worldwide audience.

More than 600 people embraced the project on Facebook, in excess of 200 on Twitter and there were over 1500 views on YouTube.

This allowed a truly international audience to follow the daily diary updates and experience the birds' activities blow by blow.

In addition, keen photographers have been submitting their images via the Flickr community site meaning that extraordinary shots from Bassenthwaite Lake can been viewed and shared around the world.

We've now got ospreys on Facebook and Twitter and Flickr and all of those things that basically open the project up to a totally different audience.
Nathan Fox, from the Lake District Osprey Project

Osprey podcast first

New technology means that weekly updates from the osprey nest have been enjoyed on mp3 players for the first time in 2009 with the introduction of the BBC Podcast.

And if mobile phones were feeling left out, diary updates have been available throughout the summer, so there is literally nowhere to go where you can't find news on the nest.

If only the birds realised how many people are following their daily activities on their perch high up in the sky giving spectacular views of the Lake District!

Plan for 2010

W3 Silver Award
In October 2009, the BBC Cumbria osprey site was awarded a W³ Silver Award in the Community section

With social networking all the rage, the project will continue to embrace new technology next season and bring the Cumbrian osprey experience to as many people as possible throughout the county, the country and the world.

The spectacular live streaming nest views will continue, but who knows what opportunities new breakthroughs in technology will in the year ahead?

To find out what is in store for 2010, make sure you join BBC Cumbria and the Ospreywatch team for the new season from Easter, the time the birds return to their summer home in the Lake District.


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