IMAGE CREDIT: John Fields @dublinjohnski on Twitter
At the Swords end of the Broadmeadow Estuary, birdwatchers have reported seeing an Osprey which seems to have travelled to Ireland from Scotland.
The bird of prey, which feeds on fish, was identified as a three-year-old which was ringed as a juvenile in the Tweed Valley in Scotland.
Birdwatcher John Fields, who reported the sighting on twitter, said that the bird was catching fish in the estuary every few hours before heading off to feed. He recommended viewing the bird from the benches on the south shore of the estuary nearest to the Seatown Rd roundabout.
This sighting comes just a matter of weeks before the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) begin their own programme of reintroduction which aims to release 50 to 70 chicks over a five-year period.
The reintroduction programme aims to establish a viable, free-ranging Osprey population that eventually breeds in Ireland. In July of this year the first 12 chicks will be released by the NPWS.
Cllr Ian Carey said:
“It is really great news to hear of the sighting of an Osprey. It may be just a single bird but the fact that it has settled here and is feeding readily shows that the Broadmeadow Estuary may be a viable permanent location for the species and we could see a breeding pair emerge there.
“It also helps the case for improving the maintenance of the site for wildlife – improving water quality, stopping litter and debris from upstream, and managing human disturbance. It also means we need to care for and protect forested areas nearby which can provide nesting sites.
“I hope that in the coming years that we see the osprey establish right along the Fingal coast and that the reintroduction scheme is as successful as the likes of the red kite programme. After being reintroduced in Wicklow in 2007 the red kite is now breeding successfully in many locations including the Swords area. A breeding pair are present in the Fieldstown area, in the west of the Swords LEA, and I regularly see them on the Dublin Meath border.”
Commenting on the Osprey reintroduction programme, Minister Malcolm Noonan said:
“The NPWS plans to bring 50-70 Osprey chicks to Ireland from Norway over a five-year period. NPWS has drawn on international expertise and learning from around Europe and North America in the development of this programme. In particular, the project has the direct involvement of colleagues from Norway and UK, who are not only top Osprey experts, but who have led and supported other key species-reintroduction programmes in Europe. The NPWS has great expertise from its introduction of the white-tailed eagle and the same, highly experienced team will now put their knowledge to good use as we embark on the reintroduction of the Osprey.”