Guest blogger: Ella Dixon - People Engagement Officer, Lake District Osprey Project
After months of scanning the skies above Bassenthwaite, the team here on the ground have finally given up hope of the original male osprey ever returning. The male, known affectionately as "No Ring", is thought to have bred at Bassenthwaite every year since 2001 and has been the proud father of 25 chicks.
When the returning female started mating with a new male earlier in the season, we thought that "No Ring" might turn up to scare the youngster off, but as he hasn't returned yet, it's clear that he won't. There's no way of telling what's happened to him, but migration is a dangerous business and the ospreys' West African wintering grounds are fraught with danger.
He'll be sadly missed, especially his spectacular fishing skills - it usually takes an osprey at least five attempts to catch a fish, but he often managed it first time!
On the bright side, at least the new pairing has been successful and hopefully they'll be back again next year.
As Caledonia and Alba get used to their new found freedom and get ready for their first migration to Africa in a few weeks time, the Loch Garten team have been keeping track of what the young ospreys are up to, even when they can't actually see them. To find out more, check out the latest post on the Loch Garten osprey diary blog.
Our Date with Nature events often ask you to look to the skies to see some of Britain's best wildlife spectacles, but starting this weekend we're suggesting you to direct your gaze downwards instead.
Starting tomorrow, friendly experts from the RSPB and the Short-haired Bumblebee Reintroduction Project will be on hand at RSPB Dungeness to show you all the brilliant bees that can be seen buzzing round the wildflowers at this time of year. There's the chance to get up close (though not too close!) and personal with the short-haired bumblebees that were reintroduced to the UK on the reserve back in May and the beautiful flower meadows have also attracted another of the UK's rarest bumblebees, the shrill carder bee.
There's activities on offer for all the family including trails, drafts, guided walks and bee house making so why not come down and see what all the buzz is about.
Short-haired bumblebee by Jesper Mattias (rspb-images.com)
You'll be sure to find our friendly staff and volunteers at Thetford Forest High Lodge. Over the next couple of days we'll be giving you an insight into the fabulous wildlife living in the heart of the Forest. Between 10am and 4pm, today and tomorrow, visitors and families will be able to take part in all kinds of activities from mini beast hunting, arts & crafts activities including kite making, bird watching, making bush craft survival bracelets, and self guided trails with activities. So take a break from the heat and head over to Thetford for some forest fun.
Guest blogger: Lindsay Wilson, Land's End information assistant
It has finally happened - the great black-backed gull chicks here at Land's End have flown the nest, and we were there to witness it! Both were practicing flapping and hopping and gliding a little in the updrafts one particularly windy day, then the bravest of the siblings very gracefully glided to the side and away from the rock. It was a truly wonderful sight. A couple of days later the second chick also took the leap into independence. Both were seen for several days on the nesting rock after their first flight, trying out their new found freedom and going for short flights around the bay on small explorations. The sibling bond even seemed to stay with them, greeting each other when the returned to the rock. It really has been fantastic getting to watch this family right from the beginning when the chicks were barely a twinkle in their parents' eyes all the way through to them flying the nest. A big well done and congratulations to the two parents for successfully fledgling not just the usual one, but two chicks, even with this year's "summer" weather.
Even though the chicks are now gone, we're still seeing plenty of action down at the End of the Land. There's everything from choughs, young kestrel and peregrine to fledgling shags hopping around on the rocks beside the water's edge to be seen. And of course let's not forget the huge basking sharks which are being spotted all the more frequently now that the weather seems to have finally improved, making anything out in the water easier to see.
Photo by Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)