Eight Osprey chicks from Scotland have safely arrived in Poole Harbour as part of a five-year translocation project, aimed at re-establishing this species on its former breeding grounds on the south coast of England.
The project which is being run by Birds of Poole Harbour, The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and local wildlife technology company Wildlife Windows, was given the go-ahead this spring and it is hoped that over the next 4-5 years Ospreys will adopt Poole Harbour as their new home and recolonise the south coast. Osprey pass through Poole Harbour every year on migration, attracted by the abundance of fish such as Mullet and flatfish. In late August, the harbour can host up to six Ospreys as birds fatten up before their long migration down to west Africa.
Paul Morton from Birds of Poole Harbour said, ‘We’re so pleased to see the chicks finally arrive in Poole Harbour. It’s been a long few months waiting for this moment, so to see them in the pens has made the whole project very real now. The public support we’ve received has been over-whelming and the offer of help from Storm restaurant has been key to making this part of the process run smoothly and efficiently‘
Pete Miles, owner of Storm restaurant and local fisherman added, ‘It’s a real privilege to be involved in the project and to help the Osprey team out. Anything that helps promote and educate local environmental stories is always good news. We’ve already got all the facilities to prep fresh fish so it made sense to offer help, plus I’m really looking forward to seeing these birds out flying around the harbour in years to come whilst I’m out on my fishing boat.‘
Roy Dennis said, ‘We are delighted that this exciting and important project is underway. Establishing a population of Ospreys on the south coast will restore the species to an area where it was once common and also help to link expanding populations in central England, Wales and northern France. We are moving the birds to the best possible location given the abundance of fish found in Poole Harbour and the plethora of potential nest sites in the surrounding area. I’m particularly excited about this project because I was born in the New Forest.‘.
Once the chicks look ready and strong enough to fly, the Osprey monitoring team will open the pens, allowing the chicks to take to the wing for the first time and explore their new area. It is expected that the young Ospreys will remain in the harbour for a further 3-5 weeks after release before they begin their long migration to West Africa. The released Osprey will then remain in Africa during the summer and winter of 2018 and won’t think about flying north to the UK until late spring 2019. It is hoped that the first breeding will take place around 2021.
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