The North East’s nesting ospreys are not due to return until next year - but their story goes on.
The fish-eating eagles began nesting at Kielder Water and Forest Park in Northumberland in 2009 and this year’s record four youngsters took the number who have fledged so far to 16.
Now, for the first time, a Kielder-hatched bird has been identified in Africa after having completed its migration flight from Northumberland.
The female, who was raised at Kielder last year, was photographed at a swamp area in Senegal by French ornithologist Frederic Bacuez.
The bird was identified by the leg rings attached in the nest at Kielder as Blue 1H. She was one of three hatchings in one of two nests as Kielder.
She and her brother fledged but the third chick died.
Young ospreys will stay in Africa for two to three years after their first migration flight before returning to the UK to breed.
But by no means all the youngsters survive the hazardous migration journey so Blue 1H has at least overcome the first hurdle.
“This is the first Kielder bird seen at a migration destination and it is fantastic news,” says Joanna Dailey, a dedicated ospreys volunteer since the birds arrived in 2009 and who also writes a blog on their progress.
Joanna, who lives between Bellingham and Wark in Northumberland, also photographed Blue 1H when she was ringed at Kielder.
Joanna is part of the Osprey Watch project which provides volunteers, telescopes and a viewpoint at Kielder for visitors and is run by Northumberland Wildlife Trust, the Forestry Commission, and Northumbrian Water.
She also monitors the images which are transmitted to Kielder Castle from cameras trained on the two osprey nests.
“Some young birds die on the migration flight and also in Africa where there are more predators so the sighting of the Kielder bird is wonderful. She has made it through her first year,” says Joanna.
“Frédéric sent us several great shots of Blue 1H. “
Duncan Hutt, lead of land management at Northumberland Wildlife Trust, says: “It is great that the bird has survived the journey across Europe and the Sahara to Senegal because plenty don’t.
“The chances of someone picking out the Kielder bird from all the migrating ospreys from Western Europe is pretty slim. It’s amazing that it happened.”
The female should return to Britain next year although it is the males who usually gravitate to areas near where they were hatched.
A year after the first pair of ospreys nested at Kielder , another two birds made the attempt which led the Forestry Commission to lend a hand by building a nesting platform on the tree the eagles had chosen.
The offer was taken up and it turned out that the males on the two nests were brothers who had hatched in Wales.
It is hoped that more ospreys will breed at Kielder, especially as two or three unattached birds have been seen giving the area the once-over.
Joanna says: “ We hope to get more and that ext year we may have a third nest.
“With a wingspan of over 5ft they are very striking birds and when they dive for a fish it is a fantastic sight.”