As Spring arrives in Rutland, so do the county's infamous ospreys which nest in and around Rutland Water, which is rich with fresh fish and perfect for raising their young.
- Tony Clarke
But, this year the birds have returned earlier than ever before, with one of the site's resident females, known as Maya, returning on 12th March, 10 days before she was expected. She was followed by a male, 33(11), which returned seven days earlier than last year.
Both have now settled into their regular nesting spot, which is monitored by cameras and can be watched live.
They are also among the first ospreys to return to the UK this year after a long migration
from their wintering grounds. Osprey in the UK usually overwinter in West Africa and many Rutland ospreys have been recorded in The Gambia and Senegal.
A spokesperson said: "We can now confirm the earliest ever return of our male and female ospreys from Africa to Rutland.
"Both ospreys have come back early this year, arriving five days ahead of the previous record. This is a very exciting time and we hope that the pair, who have already been mating, will have another successful breeding season here at Rutland Water."
The Rutland Osprey Project was started in 1996, as a translocation project to reintroduce ospreys from Scotland to England, where they had been extinct for more than 150 years.
Maya and 33(11)
- Rutland Osprey Project
Last year eight pairs of ospreys bred in Rutland, raising 16 chicks. To date, the Rutland Osprey Project has produced 133 osprey chicks which have gone on to repopulate other areas of the UK, including Wales.
To see these record-breaking ospreys for yourself, stop by the Lyndon Visitor Centre at Manton Bay, Rutland, LE15 8RN, which is now open seven days a week from 9am-5pm.
The Rutland Osprey Project is a partnership between Anglian Water and Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, with the help of the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation.