Page last updated at 18:49 GMT, Thursday, 10 April 2008 19:49 UK

Surprise return for Lakes ospreys

Ospreys at Bassenthwaite
Ospreys have nested at Bassenthwaite since 2001

The Lake District's resident ospreys have made a startling return to their nest - arriving almost simultaneously after a winter spent apart in Africa.

This year's arrivals are thought to be "No Ring", the male who has nested at the site since 2001, and the female he paired up with last year.

The male, also known as Fish King, has fathered 13 chicks to date.

It is now hoped that 2008 will see the eighth successful nesting season for Lakeland's famous birds of prey.

Graeme Prest, of the Lake District Osprey Project, said: "We've had some pretty incredible moments with the ospreys over the years, but this must rate as one of the most dramatic days so far.

"One moment the Lake was quiet with no ospreys in sight and then a few minutes later both birds are back on the nest having appeared out of nowhere.

Economy boost

"This will be the eighth year we have seen ospreys in the Lakes but it still gives us a fresh sense of excitement every year and the birds seem to have a new surprise in store for us every time."

Since 2001, nearly 500,000 people have visited the viewpoints overlooking Bassenthwaite and the giant screen at Whinlatter Forest Visitor Centre, which displays images from a nest camera.

It is estimated that the ospreys boost the local economy by up to 2m every year.

The project is a partnership between the Forestry Commission and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds with the support of the Lake District National Park Authority.

Hopes high for return of ospreys
07 Apr 08 |  Cumbria
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

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