CUMBRIA is now home to three pairs of nesting ospreys as Natural England confirmed the arrival of two chicks at their Roudsea Wood reserve in South Lakeland.

The news rounds off a bumper breeding season for the birds after chicks were also successfully hatched at Foulshaw Moss, near Witherslack, and Bassenthwaite this year.

Senior reserve manager at Roudsea Wood, Haverthwaite, Rob Petley-Jones said this was the pair’s second year at the site, but their first successful breeding attempt.

He said: “Last year’s nest was on one of Electricity North West’s major power towers and it wasn’t so much as a large bundle of sticks which fell down in the storms.

“This year Electricity North West sponsored us to build an artificial platform which they’ve been nesting on.”

The birds arrived in early April and Mr Petley-Jones believes the chicks hatched in mid-June.

The fledglings can be seen on one of the reserve’s nature trails as they fly around, learning how to catch fish.

Mr Petley-Jones said the fledglings were already the same size as their parents but with a slight difference in plumage.

“They’re such spectacular birds to look at,” he added.

It is believed the mother has already started her migration back to west Africa, and the father and fledglings could follow within the next three weeks.

“They migrate independently, and it’s amazing how something that was an egg two months ago can undertake such a journey on its own,” Mr Petley-Jones said.

“The parents have been very successful – for a young pair to get two healthy chicks is impressive.

“It also bodes well for the future because ospreys are very faithful to their nest sites and the pair we have are likely to return next year – probably in late March/early April.”

Next year Roudsea Wood celebrates its diamond anniversary and we are hoping to celebrate the event by improving their visitor facilities, with a good quality camera at the nest site to broadcast footage of the birds.

Ospreys were extinct in Britain for a century after ‘persecution’ in the Victorian era.

Its return to Scotland in the late 1950s is one of the great conservation success stories of the 20th century.

The return of ospreys to the Lakes in 2001 was the culmination of several years of work to encourage ospreys to nest in the area.