Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 14:57 UK

Northumberland ospreys produce three eggs

Bassenthwaite ospreys

A pair of Northumberland ospreys have produced three eggs in their purpose-built treetop home in Kielder.

The birds reared three chicks in the forest last summer, becoming the first ospreys to breed in the north-east of England for 200 years.

Conservationists said they hope the same will happen this year, if the three new eggs hatch successfully.

The eggs, laid over six days, have been turned over and kept warm by their mother in the nest since.

The expectant father has been feeding the mother with trout from Kielder Water.

Amanda Miller, from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said: "Having another clutch of three eggs is fabulous news and we have our fingers crossed they produce healthy chicks.

Fish-eating hawks

"This nest is only the second in England where ospreys have re-colonised naturally, so it really is critical for the future."

The male and female birds reunited last month and are nesting in an eyrie on a specially built platform high in the trees of Kielder forest.

Historically, ospreys lived in Northumberland, hunting on the once extensive network of marshes.

Accounts written in the 18th Century referred to the presence of "fish eating hawks" in Northumberland.

However, until last year there were no records of the bird breeding in the county for well over two centuries.

The Kielder Water and Forest Park ospreys are thought to originate from the expanding Scottish population.

Footage of the ospreys earlier this month

Ospreys were once distributed widely, but persecution resulted in the species becoming extinct in England as a breeding bird in 1840 and in Scotland in 1916. They re-colonised naturally in Scotland in 1954.

Live images of Kielder's ospreys are being broadcast to an interpretation room in Kielder Castle and the Dukes Pantry Tea Room between 1000 BST and 1600 BST daily.

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Images show osprey pair at home
04 May 10 |  Cumbria
Nesting ospreys return to Kielder
08 Apr 10 |  Tyne

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