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Osprey spotted in Jersey

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BREAKFAST overlooking St Ouen’s Bay is a popular activity for visitors... and recently the diners have included a migrating osprey.

The osprey seen over Jersey Picture: SUSAN LE CORNU (24689635)

The hungry bird of prey has been pictured grabbing a fish from the wetland area, known as the Scrape, which is adjacent to St Ouen’s Pond. An osprey has even been spotted in one JEP reader’s garden in St Martin. It is unclear whether it is the same bird.

Photographer Susan Le Cornu spotted the unusual visitor on Thursday and took some pictures, with her subject confirmed to be an osprey by users of the Jersey Wildlife Facebook page.

Mick Dryden, chairman of the ornithology section of the Société Jersiaise, said that although ospreys’ migration routes took them across northern France and the Channel Islands twice yearly, sightings in Jersey were relatively rare.

‘We might see between one and five ospreys in a year, most commonly in the autumn, but often they won’t stop and fly straight over on their way to their breeding grounds in Scotland or Scandinavia – it’s unusual to see them feeding,’ he said.

After the fishing stop at the Scrape, the osprey was spotted at Plémont around an hour later, before flying east towards Sorel and then heading north.

A member of the eagle family, ospreys are the largest bird of prey that would normally be seen in Jersey and have a wingspan of up to five feet.

Their northward migration routes takes ospreys more than 5,000 miles from west Africa during April and May, following the French and Spanish coasts to their breeding grounds, with the return journey being made to Senegal, Mauritania or The Gambia in the autumn.

Male and female ospreys – the latter being typically 20% larger than their partners – form monogamous pairs who are reunited each year for the breeding season. They then migrate separately to Africa and spend their winters apart.

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