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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 13:26 GMT
Hope for return of Lakes ospreys
Osprey chick born in 2001
The osprey was ringed before it left in 2001
Birdwatchers in Cumbria are watching the skies, hoping for the first sighting of a very special bird.

They are on the look out for the return of an osprey chick, raised in a Lake District nest in 2001.

It is thought the bird may be on its way back to the UK for the first time since flying off on a 3,000-mile migratory journey.

In 2003, the Bassenthwaite Osprey project near Keswick, saw two chicks born to a nesting pair of birds.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) says it will be a "historic new chapter" in the story of the return of ospreys to the Lakes, if the locally-born chick returns.

After successfully flying from its nest near Bassenthwaite Lake in the summer of 2001, the osprey chick - the first to have been reared in the Lakes for at least 150 years - set off on its 3,000-mile flight to Africa.

Young ospreys typically remain in Africa for their first few years, before making the long haul flight back to Europe.

Golden jubilee

The partners in the Lake District Osprey Project are hoping that the osprey will be spotted this spring.

If it has survived the last two years and returns successfully, the osprey could be back in the country in April.

The bird can be recognised by the ring that was fitted over its leg when it was a chick.

The distinctive red ring carries the number 15 in white letters - a combination as individual as a fingerprint and which uniquely identifies the bird.

Peter Barron, of the Lake District National Park Authority, said: "This year marks the 50th anniversary of the return of ospreys to the UK in 1954, when a pair settled in the Highlands of Scotland.

"It has taken many years for ospreys to spread south of the Border and the return of a Lake District-born osprey would be a wonderful way to celebrate this golden jubilee."

The osprey project team is also hoping for the return of the regular breeding pair of Lakes ospreys.

In 2003, the male returned on 8 April and the female on 16 April.

Pictures from a camera over-looking the osprey nest are shown on a video wall at the Whinlatter Centre, near Braithwaite.

Maiden flight for osprey chick
03 Aug 03  |  Cumbria
Osprey chick feared dead
17 Jun 03  |  Cumbria
Mrs Osprey returns at last
20 Apr 03  |  Cumbria


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