Some people feel that spring has arrived when they hear the first Cuckoo. For others it's seeing the first Swallow of the year. But for those who appreciate the larger, and some would say breathtaking, birds of prey, spring begins with the arrival of the majestic osprey.
Ospreys spend the winter in West Africa and travel thousands of miles each year to breed and raise their chicks here in the U.K. The warm weather is still... err, what's the word... intermittent. But around March/April these spectacular birds start arriving back at their nest sites.
The osprey used to be found throughout the U.K., but heavy persecution, mostly by Victorian egg hunters and skin collectors brought about dramatic decreases and extinctions. Thanks to conservation, reintroductions and legislation, these iconic fish-eating birds of prey continue to increase in numbers. This year could see up to 200 breeding pairs arrive here, many of them passing over well populated parts of Britain.
Loch of the Lowes
Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria
Rutland Water, Leics
Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve, Glandyfi, Machynlleth, SY20 8SR
Waterfoot coast, County Antrim