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The BBC's Giles Latcham
"England's osprey population is being reborn"
 real 56k

Sunday, 10 June, 2001, 23:35 GMT 00:35 UK
Osprey hatches in England
Ospreys have recently returned to England
Wildlife experts are celebrating after the first hatching of an osprey chick in England in 150 years.

The successful hatching raises hopes the endangered birds could again become a common sight in the English countryside.

More than 150 pairs are breeding successfully in Scotland but efforts are under way to reintroduce ospreys south of the border in a five-year project at Rutland Water nature reserve in Rutland.

Since 1996 up to 12 osprey fledglings a year have been released at the sanctuary, which is Europe's largest man-made lake and a frequent stopping point for migrating birds.

Breeding ospreys in England could become a common sight, as they were in Shakespeare's time

Ron Dennis
Highland Foundation for Wildlife
Male ospreys usually return to the area where they fledged, and the father of the chick is one of four that have returned every year since 1999.

He has been seen diving for fish there on successive years, and fought off one rival to win the affections of a female thought to have come from Scotland.

The chick was hatched on Wednesday after an anxious 36-day wait by conservationists.

The reintroduction project is being run by Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Anglian Water and the Highland Foundation for Wildlife.

'Tense time'

"We knew we had all the right ingredients for ospreys to establish a new population in the heart of England, and our patience has paid off," said Tim Appleton, of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, which manages Rutland Water on behalf of Anglian Water.

Ron Dennis, of the Highland Foundation for Wildlife, said: "Now there is every chance the population will increase and breeding ospreys in England could become a common sight, as they were in Shakespeare's time."

Dr Stephen Bolt, Anglian Water's head of environmental standards, said: "We are overjoyed to have achieved what we set out to do all those years ago.

"The last few weeks have been incredibly exciting, watching their courtship develop.

"But it has also been a tense time, worrying whether or not this young and inexperienced pair would hatch their first brood."

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See also:

11 May 01 | Sci/Tech
Ospreys nest in England again
01 Aug 00 | UK
'Solar-powered' ospreys
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Bird's eye view of osprey odyssey
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Ospreys return to England
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