THE WILDLIFE breeding season is well underway as Kielder's resident birds of prey have laid the first eggs of the season.

The male from nest three did not return from migration this year, so it was doubtful if another male would take his place. However, a new male has now formed a successful partnership with the female.

Joanna Dailey, Kielder Osprey expert volunteer, said: "Sadness at the loss of the original Nest three male is tempered by the arrival of an unringed male, who is doing well as a probable first time breeder. Sometimes, a new pairing will have only two eggs, so we're thrilled to see the three eggs on Nest 3."

There are now at least 16 eggs on five nests - there is no camera coverage at Nests two and eight, so there could be even more than the confirmed 16 eggs.

The first eggs will begin hatching at the end of May and into June.

The chicks will be named after parts of Northumberland beginning with the letter F.

Visitors can watch three of the nests through cameras broadcasting live footage at Kielder Castle Café and a close up view of Nest seven at Tower Knowe cabin.