THE rare sight of osprey hunting over Poole's Holes Bay has been delighting onlookers.

With its wingspan of 1.8m, the bird of prey was first spotted at Holes Bay almost a fortnight ago. But experts thought it would quickly pass through the area on its migration south.

However, this large fish-eating raptor – also known as a Sea Hawk – has now been seen consistently fishing in the area on a daily basis.

And the good news for those working to reintroduce osprey to Poole Harbour, is second osprey has been seen hunting in the area as well.

Paul Morton, founder of the Birds of Poole Harbour organisation, said: "It has been a real privilege to be able to show the people of Poole a hunting osprey right on their doorstep.

"This would have been considered almost impossible 20 years ago due to how rare they were.

"Osprey pass through the harbour every spring and autumn on their migrations to and from their breeding grounds but most tend to stay around the quieter southern shores of Poole Harbour, but to have them hunting in the heart of town is just phenomenal.

"Both of the osprey that have been present in Holes Bay over the last two week are juveniles, most likely youngsters from Scottish nests, so they currently have no fear of humans or built up areas hence why they’ve looked so happy to hunt often just yards away from the busy dual carriage way. Its likely they’ll stay a few more days but will almost certainly have moved on by mid-October."

Osprey’s are rare breeding birds in the UK with roughly 350 pairs, most of which breed up in Scotland.

However, each autumn they head south to west Africa on their migration and use Poole Harbour as a stop off point to feed and fatten up before the 4,000km journey.

The Birds of Poole Harbour began an osprey reintroduction program in Poole back in 2017 and the team hope to see the first nesting attempt in spring 2020.

Mr Morton said: "What we’ve witnessed this weekend could hopefully become the norm in Poole Harbour in future years.

"Back in 2017 we began our osprey reintroduction program which seeks to restore a south coast breeding population of osprey and this spring we saw one of our released males from 2017 arrive back this summer and pair up with a female.

"Although he was too young to breed this year, he and his new girlfriend spent all summer forming a bond, which we hope will be the beginning of a nesting pair next spring."