Page last updated at 14:34 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 15:34 UK

Osprey chicks make maiden flight

Osprey chick maiden flight
The ospreys have delighted visitors to the Lake District

Two of three newly-hatched osprey chicks at a Lake District nest site have successfully taken their first flights, experts have confirmed.

A male has nested at Bassenthwaite Lake since 2001, and paired up with the current female there two years ago.

The two eldest chicks, which are both females and were born in June, made their maiden flights on Monday.

Nesting ospreys are rare in the UK. Before 2001, there had been no ospreys in the Lakes in 150 years.

The birds of prey have become a star tourist attraction in Cumbria and so far this year around 50,000 people from around the world have visited the viewpoints run by The Lake District Osprey Project (LDOP).

'Unforgettable sight'

Spokesman Graeme Prest said: "We are delighted that the first two ospreys chicks have made their first flight.

"With impeccable timing, the ospreys took flight just as the summer holidays started, and to watch the osprey family flying over Bassenthwaite Lake will be an unforgettable sight for visitors to the Lakes."

Visitors can see the ospreys from public viewpoints at Dodd Wood near Keswick and at the Forestry Commission's Whinlatter Visitor Centre.

It is estimated that visitors heading to see the rare birds boost the local economy by up to 2m every year.

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

Egg watch at osprey nesting site
05 May 08 |  Cumbria
Ospreys snub lakeside nest site
27 Apr 08 |  Cumbria
Hopes high for return of ospreys
07 Apr 08 |  Cumbria
Chicks confound weather worries
26 Jun 07 |  Cumbria

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