Gambia: Osprey spotted thousands of miles from home


By Ambrose Young

A bird has been spotted on a cross-continent journey in the tropics of Africa.

A five-year-old osprey has been spotted in The Gambia, some 4,000 miles away from where it hatched at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve in 2016.


The male bird of prey (tagged as Blue V8) was spotted this week at Tanji Marsh Bird Reserve in The Gambia by Joanna Dailey of the Kielder Osprey Project.

Paul Waterhouse, reserves officer for Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: “This is a great second sighting of V8 in The Gambia (he was last spotted there in January 2021) and I think we can safely say that Tanji Marsh Bird Reserve is V8’s chosen wintering site.

“He was seen back in Cumbria this summer and it’s great to see one of the former Foulshaw chicks really thriving into adulthood.”

A pair of breeding ospreys, Blue 35 and White YW, have bred successfully at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve, near Witherslack, for eight years running.

V8 was one of their third brood. Paul explains why the ospreys return to this site: “Thanks to years of restoration work, the precious peatland habitat here at Foulshaw Moss is now a peaceful haven, teeming with a huge range of wildlife and being close to lakes and the coast, which have ample supplies of good sized fish, this makes it an ideal breeding site for ospreys.”

Paul Waterhouse and Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve were featured in last week’s episode of The Lakes with Simon Reeve on BBC2, Sunday 21 November. Paul talked to Simon about this important nature reserve and how it supports the very successful pair of breeding ospreys.

Reeve said: “We desperately need more wetland habitat and Foulshaw Moss shows we can restore it

“We saw ospreys, which was a down-the-spine thrill – they’re astonishing hunters and great icons of conservation.”