Ospreys return to Rutland

Osprey arrives for mating season at Rutland Water this week Photo: Monica and Tony Shooter

A record number of Ospreys have returned to Rutland Water this year to breed.

The rare birds fly three thousand miles from West Africa to nest at the beauty spot, which has been their home for the last 18 years.

Prior to that, Ospreys hadn't been seen in England for 150 years. The Rutland Osprey Project successfully translocated the birds, and now they migrate here every spring, and visitors to the Lyndon Nature Reserve at Rutland Water can see them on a special webcam located above their nest.

Their migration is tracked using a special solar tracking device. One of the male Ospreys, known as "5r" has returned this year to mate with the same female as last year. Ospreys tend to mate for life.

These photos show him catching fish at the reservoir this week. Stocks are plentiful, so he is mainly dining out on trout, rather than the humble roach!.

The pair are incubating three eggs which are expected to hatch at the end of May. The chicks then spend around 7 weeks in the nest with their parents, then 6 weeks learning to fly and fish, before they too migrate back to West Africa, flying solo.

How they know where to go, is a mystery!