ON April 1 had a surprise for us this year, but it wasn’t an April Fool. Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve at Foulshaw Moss, near Grange-over-Sands, welcomed back both of its popular pair of ospreys for their seventh year on the reserve.

Each year the two huge birds of prey, with their 5ft 6in (165cm) wingspans, make the long migration back from their wintering grounds in West Africa to the nature reserve where they nest under the watchful eye of a web camera and countless online fans. There, close to the Kent estuary, they have a spacious site with a plentiful supply of fish, their sole diet (no pun intended.)

We hope this will be another successful season for them. Last year saw them fledge another three chicks, making 14 in all since they first bred in 2014. Two of those chicks were spotted over the winter: one was seen by a Spanish birdwatcher at Doñana in southern Spain, the other was recognised by a British osprey specialist while on holiday in The Gambia in West Africa. After migrating in the autumn, the youngsters usually spend their first three years in these sunnier spots until they reach breeding age at three, when they return to Britain, often to sites close to their home nest.

This week also saw the return of a chick that hatched at Foulshaw Moss in 2014. He nested in Cumbria last year and managed to produce three chicks of his own – a big event. Ospreys were persecuted into extinction in England in 1843. None bred again until the first nest was re-established at Bassenthwaite in 2001. One of the chicks from that nest, who hatched in 2008, grew up to be the male of the Foulshaw Moss pair. Now that his chicks have had chicks, or should that be his grandchicks, we have had three generations of ospreys born in Cumbria. From zero to a dynasty like that is good going in only 18 years.

The two Foulshaw Moss birds have been busy fettling their nest, digging . When they left at the end of the season, the nest had been modelled into a flat helipad for the chicks to practise their take-offs and landings. Now there is a need for some serious DIY as they dig out a hollow for the eggs, and tiny chicks, to nestle in.

If you want to see these magnificent birds in action, go to Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve (off the A590 near Witherslack) or visit the Cumbria Wildlife Trust website to tune into their reality TV show on the nest webcam. And here’s to the next generation of Cumbrian ospreys!