A WORLD expert is helping efforts to reintroduce a rare bird of prey to the North-East.

Roy Dennis has earned international acclaim for his work in successfully reintroducing sea eagles and ospreys to Scotland and red kites to other parts of the UK.

His advice has been sought following increased sightings of fish-catching ospreys on the Teesside and North Yorkshire border.

At least one bird, possibly two, spent last summer hunting over the reservoirs of Scaling Dam and Lockwood Beck, on the edge of the North York Moors.

Ospreys, extinct as breeding birds in England since 1847, bred in the 155,000-acre Kielder Forest, in Northumberland, for the first time in 2009.

Last year, they were joined by a second pair to breed successfully on specially-constructed high platforms at Kielder.

Northumbrian Water says it is “very early days” to talk about attracting breeding ospreys to Scaling, but local wildlife enthusiasts are hopeful the birds could be breeding near the reservoir within the next five years.

Mr Dennis has given members of the Scaling Dam Wildlife Advisory Group advice on ways to entice ospreys to stay and breed.

An attempt was made to help ospreys to set up home at Scaling Dam in 2006, but an osprey tower was mistakenly erected in the wrong location.

Even so, ospreys continue to visit the reservoir and neighbouring Lockwood Beck.

Ted Parker, a past chairman of the Teesmouth Bird Club, says the visits have given the group, of which he is a member, renewed impetus to review the provision of towers at Scaling Dam.

Mr Parker said: “Roy Dennis has given us some extremely useful guidance.

"It is extremely exciting.

“We cannot guarantee anything, but if you provide the right conditions and get a couple of birds of the right age lingering, there is no reason why they cannot begin to breed.”