The famous chick of the popular Bassenthwaite osprey pair has taken her first flights from the nest.
The young osprey, named 'Bega' in a recent competition run by the Lake District Osprey Project (LDOP), was seen jumping up and flapping her wings at the nest site for a few days, before finally lifting off on her first flight on Wednesday 13 July.
Jon Carter, of the Lake District Osprey Project said: "Now is the perfect time for visitors to come and see Bega taking to the air. She is discovering just what her powerful wings are for and will be making lots of short flights around the area to build up her strength for the incredible journey she will make in a few weeks time."
A satellite tracking device, fitted to the osprey chick two weeks ago will allow her to be followed when she leaves Bassenthwaite around the end of August. It is expected she will migrate to Africa, where ospreys spend the winter months. This technology will provide valuable information on the route she takes and where she ends up.
More than 30 osprey chicks have been raised since the project began 16 years ago. It is also the fourth year of raising chicks for ringed female KL and the unringed male, believed to be the same male which has returned to Bassenthwaite with KL for the fourth year running.
To watch the ospreys, visitors can join a dedicated team of LDOP staff and volunteers at the viewpoint at Dodd Wood every day from 10 am-5 pm until the end of August. At Whinlatter Visitor Centre the public can also watch live images from the nest cam every day from 10 am-5 pm.
Osprey fans around the world can keep an eye on the action from the nest by following the webcam on the LDOP homepage www.ospreywatch.co.uk and get the latest news at www.ospreywatch.co.uk, at www.facebook.com/ospreywatch, or by following on Twitter @lakelandosprey.
To help support the project, which has attracted more than one million visitors since it started, people can also now donate at www.justgiving.com/lakesospreys.
- The Lake District Osprey Viewpoint at the Forestry Commission's Dodd Wood gives open-air viewing of the birds and will be staffed until September. It is located, 3 miles north of Keswick, off the A591 - follow signs to Mirehouse.
- The Forestry Commission's Whinlatter Visitor Centre near Braithwaite is open all year round.
- Bassenthwaite Lake is a National Nature Reserve and a Special Area of Conservation owned and managed by the Lake District National Park.
- The Bassenthwaite ospreys re-colonised England naturally in 2001 as part of a population expansion in Scotland, following the return of ospreys there in the 1950s after an absence of more than 50 years. It was the first time that ospreys had nested in Cumbria for at least 150 years.
5. The Lake District Osprey Project is one of over 50 "Dates with Nature" events around the UK. Dates with Nature give people the opportunity to get "up close and personal" with all sorts of wildlife and enjoy spectacular views of creatures they may never otherwise see. Many "Dates with Nature" take place away from RSPB reserves and may be run in partnership with other organisations such as the Forestry Commission.
- Staff and volunteers will be on hand to show visitors birds and other wildlife at locations across the UK, from peregrine falcons in city centres and seabird cruises along the coast, to garden birds in urban parks and of course, fantastic ospreys. All up close and personal. If you would like to have more dates with nature go to www.rspb.org.uk/datewithnature to find out more.