THE first Lake District osprey has returned from its West African wintering grounds.

This fantastic bird touched down in the Lake District at 4.40pm on Tuesday 24 March. Four days earlier than last year, the appearance of the first osprey officially kicks off the breeding season.

Mike Thornley, BASC north regional officer and osprey monitor, said: “The first osprey returning is always a highlight of my year. After two weeks repairing and improving their nesting sites it is with excitement that the breeding season returns. The BASC Osprey project has also built two new nests ready for the season to help with the anticipated increase as we help the fragile English population.

“Under trickier conditions than usual, the reappearance of the ospreys reminds us that nature goes on, and spring is upon us. All our fingers are crossed for a high percentage of ospreys returning so we can witness another successful breeding season.

“Unfortunately while the live cameras are still rolling on a number of the nests, the footage at our key site will not be shown as Esthwaite café, near Hawkshead, South Lakes is currently closed as a result of government orders.”