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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 July 2007, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
Osprey project reaches landmark
Debbie Thorpe
Mrs Thorpe was presented with a pair of binoculars
A Lincolnshire woman has become the half-millionth official visitor to Cumbria's famous osprey project.

Debbie Thorpe, of Louth, received the unexpected honour during a trip to Bassenthwaite in the Lake District's National Park on Monday.

Visitors have been flocking to the site since 2001, when a pair of ospreys nested in the Lakes for the first time in at least 150 years.

Earlier this year three chicks were hatched at the site.

Mrs Thorpe, who was on holiday with her husband Peter, was presented with a pair of binoculars to mark the occasion.

She said: "This was an unexpected honour and made our visit to the Lakes one that we will remember for a long time to come.

"We enjoyed finding out more about the ospreys and watching the young ones in the nest."

Female osprey feeding chicks
Thirteen osprey chicks have hatched at the nest since 2001

The same pair of ospreys, Fish King and his female partner GreenXS, had returned to the lake every spring - raising 10 chicks.

But earlier this year Fish King found romance with a new mate after his long-term partner failed to return from Africa.

The new pair hatched three chicks in June.

Nathan Fox, of the Lake District Osprey Project, said: "Welcoming the half-millionth visitor to see the ospreys is a tremendous achievement for us, and demonstrates just how much interest and affection there is for these special birds."

It is estimated that tourists who come to see the ospreys generate about 1.7m for the Cumbrian economy.

The project is a partnership between the Forestry Commission, Lake District National Park Authority and the RSPB.


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