SCOTTISH OSPREYS RELEASED IN SPAIN

Twelve young ospreys taken from nests in Scotland have been released in northern Spain, in an attempt to restore a breeding osprey population in the Basque Country.

One of the ospreys which was releasedThe Spanish authorities asked Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) for assistance with the project last year.
The birds came from the Highlands and Moray after Scottish Natural Heritage issued a special licence.

The young ospreys were said to be “faring well” in their new home.

The birds were released at the Urdaibai estuary, which is used by ospreys migrating between Scotland and West Africa in spring and autumn.

They have been provided with nest platforms and a supply of food, although at least one has now begun catching fish for itself.

The special licence was issued to naturalist Roy Dennis, of the Highland Foundation for Wildlife.

He told BBC Scotland News:

“The species was widely persecuted during the the Middle Ages in countries like Spain because it plundered fish ponds, which were important sources of food for every big house, castle and monastery.”

The project follows what conservationists say was the successful reintroduction of ospreys to Andalucia in southern Spain, which involved birds taken from Scotland, Germany and Finland.
In 2008 the first pair to breed there were identified as a Scottish female and German male.

There are now 13 breeding pairs of ospreys in Andalucia.

Professor Des Thompson, of SNH, said:

“We’re at the stage now where the osprey population here is doing extremely well, so we’re in this privileged position of being able to help other countries restore their populations and that’s a wonderful place to be.”

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Osprey makes record-breaking migration journey

After surviving Scotland’s soggy summer, a young osprey may have flown into the history books by making a record-breaking journey to sunnier climes.

Osprey in flight

In just two weeks, ‘Alba’ left her natal home at Loch Garten and made her hazardous 3,000 mile maiden migration to West Africa.

Having only hatched earlier this year, the female bird has astounded online audiences who have been following her journey on the internet.

Alba and her sister Caledonia were fitted with satellite tags before leaving the nest so that both staff and the public could follow their fortunes and movements.

While the pair fledged successfully towards the end of last month, Alba made short work of the journey to their wintering grounds and is now believed to have made the fastest migration of any tagged European osprey.

Richard Thaxton, site manager at RSPB Scotland Loch Garten Osprey Centre, said:

‘It is astonishing that in just a fortnight, Alba has travelled from Loch Garten in Strathspey to southern Mauritania close to the border with Senegal. Other tagged birds have taken months to do this! It is all the more remarkable when you think that this is her first migration, with sea crossings to contend with and all sorts of weather. It’s good to know she has arrived there safely.’