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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2006, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Late Easter egg for Lake ospreys
Thousands of people have seen the birds via a webcam
Birdwatchers are celebrating a late Easter treat as one of the UK's rarest birds of prey nesting in the Lake District laid its first egg this year.

A pair of Bassenthwaite Lake ospreys were reunited this month for the sixth year after a winter in Africa.

The female is thought to have laid her first egg late on Monday night.

Viewpoints giving people a chance to see the birds have now been opened and thousands of people have visited and watched the birds through webcams.

The pair, who wear identity tags, have used the nest site since 2001 and have raised seven chicks.

'Exceptional response'

The Lake District Osprey Project team, a partnership of The Forestry Commission and the RSPB supported by the Lake District National Park Authority, now hopes more eggs will follow.

Ospreys normally lay three eggs and incubation is carried out mainly by the female and takes between 34 and 40 days.

David Hirst of the Lake District Osprey Project said: "There is a huge amount of interest in these fantastic birds and they have many fans not just in Cumbria, but also throughout the world.

"The response from visitors has already been exceptional, with thousands of people visiting the public viewpoints at Dodd Wood and Whinlatter over the Easter weekend."

The Bassenthwaite ospreys re-colonised England naturally in 2001.

It was the first time that ospreys had nested in the Lake District for at least 150 years.

Osprey pair return for 6th year
11 Apr 06 |  Cumbria
First ospreys land at Lakes nest
05 Apr 06 |  Cumbria
Thousands travel to see ospreys
18 Aug 05 |  Cumbria
Second osprey chick takes flight
27 Jul 05 |  Cumbria
Chick joy for rare birds of prey
28 May 05 |  Cumbria

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