Here’s the moment a majestic osprey returned to its ancestral forests of Northumberland.
The birds that once prowled marshes across the county were extinct in England for 150 years - but have been bred in Kielder Water and Forest Park every year since 2009.
Now, birders waiting for the park’s two breeding pairs to get back from their winter in Africa can breathe again with the first female’s return to her nest.
Cameras concealed in nesting platforms beamed footage to visitors wandering Kielder Castle and the Leaplish Waterside Park.
Alex MacLennan, North East public affairs manager for the Forestry Commission, said: “We’re all delighted, and relieved, to welcome back safely one of our Kielder ospreys.
“She has survived the gruelling journey from sub-Saharan Africa and now we’ve got great hopes that the male will follow and another osprey family will be born in Kielder.”
The female landed at 11.23am on Wednesday and staying for about 20 minutes, shouting, rearranging her nest and seeming to examine the view. Keepers said she looked “in need of a fish”.
While she came and went throughout the day, a great spotted woodpecker took his last chance to poke around nesting platform 2 before the vicious-beaked raptors return.
Ospreys breed for the first time at four or five-years-old and form faithful pairs for the rest of their lives.
The birds, distinctive for their habit of hovering for a few seconds over the water and then plunging feet first to the surface, were once a common sight across the North East as they swooped to pluck trout from its rivers and lakes. But by 1847 they had died out as a breeding bird in England due to decades of poaching and egg theft - and their Scottish cousins followed in 1916.
Since then they have been reintroduced to parks across the nation, with 200 breeding pairs in Scotland alone. Kielder keepers say the park - which spans 250 square miles and is England’s largest working forest - is perfect for the birds, which thrive in its mixture of treetops and lakes.