The moorhen at Urswick Tarn are normally successful in their breeding cycle and the species appear to sustain their population.  This is in tragic contrast with their former populous neighbours on this tarn, the coot.  Urswick Tarn was, within living memory, so renowned for its exceptionally large population of coot that, in times when local communities on the Furness peninsula had a continuity of resident families spanning several generations, people born in Urswick were themselves known across the district as Ossick Coots.  Ossick is, or was in those times, the local dialect name for Urswick.  Over one human lifetime the coot population has declined dramatically to the point where it is now rare on this tarn despite it remaining a common species on other bodies of water on the Furness peninsula.  The start of a decline was recorded by Rev. T.N. Postlethwaite, parson of Urswick, in his 1906 publication, 'Some Notes on Urswick Church and Parish'.  The quest for an answer to this perplexing and potentially serious question continues.  The local dialect is sadly extinct, one of the victims of economic growth and the resulting high level of social mobility.

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