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Last Updated: Monday, 9 May, 2005, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Three eggs laid at ospreys nest
The only osprey chick in Wales : picture Steve Phillipps for the Welsh Wildlife Trusts
An osprey chick was born at a secret location in mid Wales last year
Three osprey eggs have been laid in a nest as a result of a project to re-establish the bird of prey which was once hunted almost to extinction.

The eggs arrived at the nest at Pont Croesor, near Porthmadog in the Glaslyn Valley, Gwynedd, over the last week.

More than 2,500 have seen the birds since a viewing scheme - including a camera in the nest - began last month.

Last year, an osprey fledged at a secret location in mid Wales - the first on record in Wales.

The osprey was persecuted to the brink of extinction in Britain by gamekeepers and fishermen in Victorian times.

It remains an Amber List species, which means it still needs protection for numbers to recover to an acceptable level.

Scientific name : Pandion haliaetus
Wingspan : 5ft
Clutch: 3, but not all fledge
Sexual maturity: Three to five years
Diet : Mainly fish, particularly perch, pike, and trout

An RSPB Cymru spokeswoman described the arrival of the three eggs in north Wales as "a pretty big deal". The same osprey couple did breed last year, but their chicks died after their nest fell to the ground in high winds.

The female will remain on the nest now for the next five to six weeks until the eggs hatch.

Gili Armson, the Glaslyn Osprey Project Manager for RSPB Cymru, said she was delighted at the news.

"The arrival of these eggs is exactly what we have been hoping for," she said.

"Now we have a patient wait ahead of us until the chicks appear at the beginning of June.

"It is a real privilege to be observing these birds so closely and getting such an insight into their behaviour.

Osprey (RSPB)
The ospreys lost their chicks in high winds last year

"This is the kind of wildlife experience that will stay with our visitors long after they have left the viewing site."

RSPB Cymru staff and volunteers will be at the site each day between 10am and 5pm until early September, to provide visitors with more information and protect the nest.

There are binoculars and telescopes on site to give better views of the birds, as well as a television screen showing live images from a camera set up in the nest.

The male is thought to be one of the birds released from the Wildlife Trust nature reserve at Rutland Water in the East Midlands, where a project to reintroduce osprey began nine years ago.

His partner is likely to have come from Scotland which last year had 182 of Britain's 186 breeding pairs.

The trust is still keeping secret the mid Wales location at which another pair of ospreys succeeded in raising a chick.

Welsh osprey makes history
20 Aug 04 |  Wales
High winds kill osprey chicks
03 Jul 04 |  Wales
Lake's ospreys hatch first chick
05 Jun 04 |  Cumbria
Double joy as osprey chicks hatch
28 May 04 |  Scotland

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