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Osprey seen soaking up the sun in Barbados after flying more than 4,000 miles from Renfrewshire in Scotland

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An osprey has been spotted soaking up the sun after flying thousands of miles from Scotland to Barbados.

The female bird of prey, which was tagged with a colour ring last summer in Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park in Renfrewshire, was spotted on the eastern Caribbean island earlier this month.

An expert from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation said the epic transatlantic adventure covers more than 4,000 miles and it is believed to be first time a UK osprey has been observed in the Americas.

Nature conservationist Tim Mackrill said ospreys have been colour-ringed in the UK since the late 1960s, allowing them to be identified by those with telescopes. This has provided a wealth of data – including on migratory movements.

He said: “We have received some very interesting re-sightings over the years, from a bird that returns to winter on the Canary Islands each year, to others which have migrated as far south as the Ivory Coast and Ghana.

“However earlier this month we received what is undoubtedly the most remarkable record of all.”

Osprey in Barbados. Pic: Michael St John
Image:
The osprey was first pictured on private wetland in Barbados last October. Pic: Michael St John

Mr Mackrill said that the foundation received a number of photos from Michael St John, who had captured an osprey with a blue ring on its left leg.

He added: “Nothing unusual there until I noticed where he had seen it – Bawdens Irrigation Pond in the north of Barbados in the Caribbean.

“The ring number was clearly visible – KW0, which indicated it was a bird from Scotland.”

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Mr St John reportedly first spotted the osprey last October six miles away on private wetland, but on that occasion he was unable to read the ring.

Osprey in Barbados. Pic: Michael St John
Image:
The bird is said to be ‘very settled’. Pic: Michael St John

KW0 was one of two chicks ringed last June at a nest in Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park by Clyde Ringing Group.

Mr Mackrill said it likely departed on migration in late August or early September.

He said that some Finish ospreys are known to migrate to South Africa for the winter, which is a greater distance, but added: “What makes this record amazing is the fact that the vast majority of the journey is across the Atlantic Ocean.”

The osprey is believed to have flown around 3,800 miles from south-west Ireland to Barbados.

Osprey in Barbados. Pic: Michael St John
Image:
The bird is believed to have crossed the Atlantic from south-west Ireland. Pic: Michael St John

Mr Mackrill said: “It is highly unlikely that even an osprey could have completed this in a single flight, even with strong tailwinds, and so it is probable that she took the opportunity to rest on boats, which may themselves have been travelling to the Caribbean from the UK.

“It could be that KW0 stopped-off on the Azores en route to Barbados.”

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The osprey was said to be “very settled” and may well remain on the island for the “foreseeable future”.

Mr Mackrill added: “Young ospreys usually remain on the wintering grounds for the whole of their second calendar year, meaning that KW0 could linger in Barbados until spring 2024.

“Most ospreys fly north back towards their natal area during their third calendar year, but clearly that is unlikely to be an option for KW0, who may instead choose to remain on the other side of the Atlantic.

“Let’s hope we receive further sightings of this remarkable young osprey in the months ahead.”

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