AS Prince Harry and Meghan Markle settle into married life, another courtship, taking place in a different part of the country, is attracting a lot of attention.

No fancy fairytale palace and opulent ceremony for this pair, however, just a pile of old twigs on the top of a tall wooden pole.

The couple are ospreys and they are the subject of much speculation in and around Bassenthwaite in Cumbria.

For the past five years the same pair has nested at the site and last month the same male returned, soon to be joined by a new female. But she didn’t like the home and husband on offer and left after a short time.

Taking a short break in the Lakes, we were lucky enough to witness a second lady osprey checking out the nest.

It was visible through binoculars from our holiday cottage and, although we couldn’t make out more than two moving shapes, we could not take our eyes off them. Every flap of a wing was met with great excitement.

We later visited a special hillside viewpoint for tourists, where people gathered to watch the feathered couple.

Birdwatching can be addictive. Whether it is in your back garden or at an RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) reserve, it’s easy to get caught up in what for many is a passion.

I wouldn’t class myself as a twitcher, and wouldn’t be prepared to travel hundreds of miles for a possible glimpse of a lesser spotted woodpecker, but at home I am constantly being distracted from whatever I am supposed to be doing by the antics of birds.

There’s the starlings that try, try and try again to hang on to the fat ball feeder, the blackbirds that hoover up the crumbs falling below, nervous crows that take ages to pluck up courage to fly down for food, and the big fat pigeons who wallow in the bird bath.

We leave apples in the garden for blackbirds, who devour them in no time, each closely guarding their piece of fruit from sneak thieves, and leave mealworm for robins, who aggressively defend their territory around the bird table from rivals. It’s more entertaining than any soap opera.

I’d love to be able to afford a top-of-the-range pair of binoculars like the ones used by the RSPB on the clifftop at Bempton, which zoom in so close you can see the wind ruffle the birds’ plumage.

Watching garden birds is good for your mental health. A study by the University of Exeter found that lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress were associated with the number of birds people could see during afternoons. It did not matter what species they were watching.

It’s certainly a relaxing way of spending time. My husband and I take great pleasure in watching birds.

We don’t have favourites - even the universally unpopular magpies, whose numbers have increased by 112 per cent over the last 30 years according to the RSPB – are welcome in our garden. They may be seen as arrogant and have unsavoury habits, but they are fine-looking birds and have as much right to live as others.

Almost half UK households feed wild birds, and it’s not cheap. Seed, fatballs, peanuts and the like costs a fortune, especially when squirrels carry out regular raids. Researchers from the University of Reading filmed 19 gardens and in half of them caught grey squirrels taking food from bird feeders.

We recently forked out for a squirrel-proof feeder with a protective cage to admit birds only.

But once you start you can’t stop. Going away for a couple of nights left us worrying about how the birds would cope.

As for the Lakeland ospreys - the male is clearly an old romantic and has placed flowers in the nest.