Osprey

Why don’t ospreys nest in Hampshire? Well, they probably used to, albeit a long time ago. They would surely find it much easier to provision their young with food from our warmer, fish-rich southern water bodies than from a cold, deep, loch. Langstone Harbour is full of fish, whereas there are only about four, skinny trout in the whole of Loch Garten! Hopefully they will again before too long. There have certainly been plenty of nest platforms provided for them all along the south coast – it just needs a pair of pioneering birds to ‘take the plunge’. The restricting factor is their slow rate of population growth. They are slowly creeping south from Scotland, having now colonised the Lake District, but to the impatient conservationist the progress is glacial. Therefore efforts have been made to speed up the process with introductions around Rutland Water, but this is not on the same scale as the hundreds of red kites that were released, there will be no quick-fix where ospreys are concerned. So while we wait, we’ll just have to make do with passage birds that stop off for a day or two before carrying on north to breed. Like this one seen from the eastern seawall at Farlington on Monday.

The local buzzards get mobbed a bit by crows or the occasional gull, but when an unusual raptor turns up, they really get it. This poor osprey was mobbed by crows, gulls, jackdaws and even a peregrine at one point! Many thanks to Eric Hill for the cracking photos.

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