Seeing an Osprey in Britain is no easy matter unless you visit a nesting site where special viewing arrangements have been made by a conservation body. Never visit an Osprey's nest that does not have special viewing arrangements, it is against the law to disturb the nest.

Ospreys arrive in late March or early April and most pass up the country to the breeding grounds in Scotland quickly and unseen. Some birds break their journey and it is possible to see one at almost any lake, reservoir, gravel pit or river, especially if the weather turns dreary and overcast on an easterly wind.

A number of breeding sites have special viewing facilities. The most famous is at the RSPB Loch Garten reserve in Speyside, near Aviemore in the Highlands. This is where the Osprey first re-colonised Britain in the 1950s. Location: Loch Garten is located off the B970 between Nethybridge and Boat of Garten. From Boat of Garten cross the River Spey and  turn left (north) towards Nethybridge and then take a right turn after 1 kilometre onto an unclassified road. After nearly 2 kilometres the loch comes into view to the right and the reserve is on the left. For more details: RSPB Loch Garten reserve tel. 01479 831476 or visit the website.

A strong population of Ospreys has built up in the Spey valley over the years and many now hunt at the Inverdruie fish farm, where the owners, the Rothiemurchus Estate, allow viewing for a small fee. Spectacular views may be had of fishing Ospreys there throughout the summer. Location: From the B9152 at Aviemore turn east on the unclassified road towards Coylumbridge. Almost immediately after the junction cross the River Spey and the Fishery is on the left. For more details: Rothiemurchus Estate Fishery shop tel. 01479 810703 or visit the website.

Another excellent site is the Scottish Wildlife Trust viewpoint at Loch of the Lowes, Perthshire, where nesting birds may be seen from observation hides.  Location: From the A923 16 kilometres north of Perth turn east on a minor road about 2 kilometres north-east of Dunkeld. For more details: Scottish Wildlife Trust Loch of the Lowes reserve tel. 01350 727337 or visit the website.

In 2001 Ospreys returned to breed successfully in England for the first time in a century at Brassenthwaite Lake in Cumbria. An Osprey watchpoint has been established by the Lake District Osprey Project. Location: The Dodds Wood watchpoint is situated on the A591 about 4 kilometres north-west of Keswick. At Mirehouse village park and walk for 15-20 minutes up to the watchpoint. For more details: Whinlatter Forest Visitor Centre tel. 01768 778469 or visit the website.

An Anglian Water sponsored project to reintroduce Ospreys to England at Rutland Water in Leicestershire resulted in breeding in 2001 and Ospreys can be seen anywhere around the reservoir in the summer months. It is best to start at the Lyndon reserve for the latest information and viewing. Location: Rutland Water is situated along the A606 be- tween Stamford and Oakham. The Lyndon reserve is located at the southern side of Rutland Water near the village of Manton. For more details: Lyndon reserve centre tel. 01572 770651or visit the website.

In 2005 Ospreys bred successfully in North Wales. The RSPB have established a viewing point for the Glaslyn Osprey Project, open from April to September. Location: The RSPB Glaslyn Osprey project viewing site is near Porthmadog. Take the A487 north from Porthmadog  and turn right onto the A498 at Tremadog. After approximately 2.5 miles, turn right onto the B4410. The Glaslyn Osprey Project viewing site is at Pont Croesor, at grid reference SH593413.  For more details: RSPB North Wales Office tel. 01248 363800 or visit the website.

In 2011 Ospreys also bred at a second site in North Wales at Cors Dyfi nature Reserve, and the nest has been featured on the BBC's Springwatch. Location: The Montgomery Wildlife Trust reserve is 3.5 miles south-west of Mychynlleth on the A487. Two miles  south of Derwenlas turn right into the car park just after the Morben Isaf caravan park. For more details: tel. 01654 781414 or visit the website.

In the autumn Ospreys move south and once again may visit  almost any inland water or estuary, sometimes staying for some weeks at the same site.