An osprey has been spotted basking in the sun after flying thousands of miles from Scotland to Barbados.
The female raptor was spotted color-ringed in Clydemuir Hill Regional Park in Renfrewshire last summer and was spotted earlier this month on the eastern Caribbean island.
An expert at the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation said the epic transatlantic adventure, which spanned more than 4,000 miles, is believed to be the first time a British osprey has been observed in the Americas.
Conservationist Tim Mackrill said Britain’s ospreys had been banded with colorful rings since the late 1960s, allowing people with binoculars to identify them. This provides a wealth of data – including on migration flows.
He said: “We’ve had some really interesting re-sightings over the years, from birds that winter each year in the Canary Islands, to others that migrate as far south as Ivory Coast and Ghana.
“Earlier this month, however, we received what is undoubtedly the most dramatic record of all.”
Mr McClear said the foundation had received many photos from Michael St John, who once captured an osprey with a blue ring on its left leg.
He added: “There was nothing unusual there until I noticed where he saw it – Bowdens Irrigation Pond in the north of Barbados in the Caribbean.
“The ring number is clearly visible – KW0, indicating that this is a bird from Scotland.”
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Mr St John was reportedly unable to read the ring when he first spotted the osprey in private wetlands six miles away in October last year.
KW0 was one of two chicks ringed by the Clyde Ringing Group in a nest in Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park last June.
Mr Mackrill said it was likely to leave for the migration in late August or early September.
Some Finnish ospreys are known to migrate further afield to winter in South Africa, he said, but added: “What makes this record amazing is that the vast majority of the journeys are across the Atlantic.”
The osprey is believed to have flown about 3,800 miles from southwestern Ireland to Barbados.
Mr McClear said: “Even the Osprey is unlikely to do this in one flight, even with a strong tailwind, so she is likely to take the opportunity to rest on board, which themselves may be heading to the Caribbean from the UK .
“Possibly KW0 stopped in the Azores en route to Barbados.”
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The Osprey is said to be “very stable” and likely to remain on the island for the “foreseeable future”.
Mr Mackrill added: “Young Ospreys typically remain in wintering grounds throughout their second year, which means KW0 could remain in Barbados until spring 2024.
“Most ospreys fly north back to their birthplace in their third year, but obviously that’s unlikely to be an option for KW0, who may choose to stay on the other side of the Atlantic.
“Let’s hope that in the coming months we’ll see more of this remarkable young osprey.”