OSPREY’S Incredible Flight To The Caribbean

28 March, 2023 | Local

A YOUNG osprey which hatched in a nest in the countryside near Inverclyde last summer has astounded ornithologists by turning up thousands of miles away in the Caribbean, writes David Carnduff.

The bird of prey, which took its first flight in July, has been photographed in Barbados, making it the first osprey ever known to migrate across the Atlantic from Britain.

A photographer on the Caribbean island first saw the bird back in October and noticed it had been fitted with a coloured leg ring. At that stage the osprey’s origins were unknown.

However, this month he was able to get a close-up picture which clearly showed the inscription on the ring which meant it could be checked on an international database.

Amazingly, it was discovered that the young osprey had been hatched last summer in Clyde Muirshiel Regional park, meaning it had travelled 4,134 miles from Scotland.

The colour-coded ring had been fitted to the bird’s left leg by members of the Clyde Ringing Group who have been monitoring ospreys in the park since 2017 with assistance from park staff.

News of the bird’s incredible journey was revealed by the Roy Dennis Nature Foundation. Roy, one of Scotland’s foremost naturalists, had previously advised on how artificial nests could be placed on trees to encourage ospreys to breed within the park.

Ospreys are known to breed in Inverclyde and are now regularly sighted fishing at Loch Thom.

It is suspected that the young osprey may have first flown to south west Ireland before heading out over the Atlantic, maybe stopping to rest in the Azores. It may even have hitched a ride on a ship.

Ospreys, which are summer visiting birds to Scotland, normally fly to Spain and west Africa to spend the winter, returning the following spring.

The ornithologists think it is unlikely the adventurous Clyde Muirshiel bird will make it back to the park given the enormous distance, but its movements will be closely monitored in the coming months and years, just in case.

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