Osprey survivor takes its first flight
Treetop CCTV cameras captured the dramatic moment the four-month-old fledgling spread its wings and took a short flight from its remote forest nest.
It was the sole survivor of three chicks hatched by a record-breaking pair of ospreys at the Kielder Water & Forest Park in Northumberland.
Rangers who visited the remote nest in the 62,000-hectare wilderness thought spring storms had killed all three chicks.
They were delighted to discover that one tiny osprey had survived, and are now celebrating its first flight.
"It was quite emotional," said June Banks, who manages the Forestry Commission shop in Kielder Castle.
"The youngster perched himself on the edge of the nest and eventually plucked up the courage to take a leap in the dark.
"Everything else went like clockwork and, after a circuit around the nest, he arrived back safe and sound."
The nest was purpose-built on a platform at the top of a 49ft fir tree deep within the forest by Forestry Commission staff, who hoped to attract a breeding pair of birds.
It broke records in 2009 when a pair of adult birds fledged three chicks from a clutch of three eggs hatched in the eyrie.
The pair were the first ospreys to breed in England in 200 years.
They repeated the feat in 2010, with a further three chicks flying the nest.