These beautiful birds are a favourite of so many people and the second-most widespread bird of prey in the world, so it is hard to believe that they became extinct in England in the 1840 and Scotland in 1916.
Fortunately, Ospreys made a natural comeback in Scotland, and by the 1990s there were more than 60 pairs. They were reintroduced into England at Rutland Water in 1996 where they are a huge attraction as they swoop down to catch fish, carrying them off in their talons. They are now also found in Cumbria, and at two sites in Wales.
After years of attempting to restore a breeding population to the South Coast naturally, the Poole Harbour Osprey Reintroduction Project was initiated to help spread their population further, with the hope of eventually linking the populations between Rutland, Wales and France.
In this five-year project, initiated in 2017, osprey chicks have been translocated from Scotland and released them in the Poole Harbour area. Ospreys do pass through the area, when on migration, and in 2017 a female called CJ7 - not one of the reintroduced ospreys - settled in a nest for a few weeks. In 2019 she bonded with one of the reintroduced males LS7 but it was too late in the season for them to have a brood. In April 2020 CJ7 returned and hopes were high that LS7 would return too but sadly there was no sign of him.
However, the hot press news in May 2021 is that not only has CJ7 returned but now a male from 2019, 022, has arrived and mated with her! Supporters avidly check the nest on a live webcam - it's more gripping than a soap opera.