A nesting osprey chick thought to have been scared off by filming for a TV show died before production began after it flew into a wind turbine, a wildlife organisation has revealed.
The grim discovery was made on August 6 by the wind farm operator RWE Renewables at Clocaenog, according to North Wales Wildlife Trust, which monitors the rare birds of prey.
Wildlife activists feared the pair of nesting ospreys would not return to a Llyn Brenig reservoir on the Denbighshire/Conwy border because of disruption from reality TV filming.
They claimed the chick had been frightened away from its feeding platform by flares, drones and loud generators used in the production.
However, Welsh Water, which owns the reservoir and surrounding land, confirmed the discovery was made 12 days before filming on Channel 4 reality show The Bridge started.
Despite the set being near to one of only half a dozen pairs of nesting ospreys in Wales, it appears the show – being produced by a TV company from Manchester – was not responsible for the chick’s disappearance.
However, the tragic death of the fledgling, known as KC5, has left the wildlife trust with a new mystery to solve.
In an update on its website, North Wales Wildlife Trust said: “It has been generally accepted the Llyn Brenig ospreys have been on their southward migration since the last sightings in North Wales at the end of August.
“However, in late September, we heard the truly distressing news that the body of this year’s youngster (KC5) had been found adjacent to a wind turbine, some 4.8 km south-east of the nest, on 6 August.
“This is clearly a very sad outcome for all concerned, and we will be working with RWE Renewables UK and other stakeholders to assess and implement opportunities to reduce the risks of any future, similar occurrence.
“We are continuing to work with everyone concerned to evaluate the events leading up to that date, and are also left with a perplexing mystery as to the identity of the third bird seen around Llyn Brenig in the days and weeks that followed.
“We are working on this as well and, as and when possible, will post a further update.”
In a statement, Welsh Water said it had recently learned of the fate of the dead bird.
It added: “We were informed by the operator of the wind farm who also advised that the bird had died of injuries consistent with a strike from a blade of a wind turbine and that it had been found dead on August 6.
“Our last sighting of the bird on the nest at Llyn Brenig was at 10.55am that same morning. This was 12 days before any filming had started at Llyn Brenig. This is a very sad development for all involved and interested in the Brenig Osprey Project.”
The Bridge, narrated by Hollywood actor James McAvoy, airs on Channel 4 next week and will see contestants tasked with building a 250m walkway to a pontoon in the middle of Llyn Brenig.
The 12 contestants will be fighting to earn a £100,000 prize for completing the task.
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