Twitching to see eagles and egg

NICOLE VEASH

England's only breeding golden eagles have laid another egg in the Lake District eyrie they have inhabited for more than 25 years.

Hundreds of `twitchers' have arrived to catch a glimpse of the pair whose nest on a craggy ridge in the Riggindale Valley is guarded night and day by a warden from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Bird watchers will be keeping a close eye on the nest after the disappointment of the last four years, when none of the eggs laid was hatched.

Although the eagles have reared more than 15 young since 1969, they have all disappeared.

"We know birds of prey are still being persecuted and the 15 young that have been born over the years may have been killed," the warden said.

Although there are still a few hundred golden eagles in Scotland, there have been no colonies in England or Wales for centuries. The RSPB does not expect the pair to colonise.

"It is obvious that there is something about the north of England which they don't like. They really like peace and quiet and there are always plenty of people wandering around here. I just don't know why they keep coming back to nest."

Visitors who come to watch the birds are taken to a hidden hillside view point, to lessen disturbance to the eagles.

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