Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 10:52 UK

Hopes high for return of ospreys

Ospreys at Bassenthwaite
Ospreys have nested at Bassenthwaite since 2001

Bird watchers are preparing for the expected return of a breeding pair of ospreys to a nest site in Cumbria.

The rare birds of prey have nested at Bassenthwaite Lake since 2001 and so far 13 chicks have hatched.

The Lake District Osprey Project has already received reported sightings of ospreys in the area, which are thought to have returned from Africa.

Last year three eggs hatched at the site, resulting in thousands of visitors to a special viewing area.

Nathan Fox, from the Lake District Osprey Project, said at least one osprey had briefly been spotted at the nest site, but that poor weather had hampered further observations.

Giant screen

He added: "We are keeping our eyes peeled and our fingers crossed."

Mr Fox said the project team was hopeful some of the chicks would also return to the Lake District.

He said: "Certainly that is the hope for us. Since 2001 the Bassenthwaite nest has produced 13 chicks.

"Of those we have only ever tracked one and that was last year in Norway."

Pictures from the nest are shown on a giant screen at the project's nearby Whinlatter Centre.

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.

Chicks confound weather worries
26 Jun 07 |  Cumbria
Third chick for Lakeland ospreys
13 Jun 07 |  Cumbria
Double hatching for osprey pair
09 Jun 07 |  Cumbria
First egg for new osprey couple
01 May 07 |  Cumbria
More love rivalry at osprey nest
20 Apr 07 |  Cumbria

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