Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 17:18 UK

Record-breaking ospreys reunite in Northumberland

Kielder osprey nest
The female arrived almost a week after her mate

A pair of breeding ospreys, who last year parented the first chicks born in Northumberland for more than 200 years, have been reunited in the county.

The female arrived at a specially-created tree-top nesting site in Kielder Forest almost a week after her partner returned.

Three chicks were raised at the site last year and ornithologists hope more could appear this time round.

Footage of the nest is being streamed to visitors at Kielder Castle.

'Grandstand view'

Elizabeth Rowark, director of the Kielder Partnership, said: "There are never any guarantees with wildlife, so the fact that the couple are back safely from sub-Saharan Africa and that they are using the same nest where we have installed cameras is tremendous news.

"The prospect of more chicks being born has got everyone very excited and the public will be able to enjoy a grandstand view."

Osprey courtship often involves the male attempting to woo his partner by providing a tasty fish. The bird stays faithful both to nest and mate.

Accounts from the 18th Century refer to "fish-eating hawks" in Northumberland, which were probably ospreys, but there have been no records of the bird breeding in the county for more than 200 years.

The Kielder pair were thought to originate from the expanding Scottish population.

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.

Some birds re-colonised Scotland in the 1950s and today there are about 200 pairs.

They have re-colonised the Lake District and have been re-introduced at Rutland Water in the East Midlands.

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