CHILDREN from Poole were treated to a wildlife spectacle when they saw a rare bird that hasn’t been permanent in England for nearly three centuries.

Pupils of Longfleet Church of England School were on a school trip when they saw a White-tailed Eagle flying over Brownsea Island.

They were taking part in the School Bird Boat Project, carried out annually by charity Birds of Poole Harbour, when the huge eagle flew out over the Brownsea Lagoon past the group.

The eagle, known as G461, is a two-year old male and was released onto the Isle of Wight in 2020 as part of a reintroduction program hosted by the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Forestry England in a bid to try and restore the population.

Bournemouth Echo: White-tailed Eagle on the ground in Brownsea Lagoon. Picture: Stuart PentlandWhite-tailed Eagle on the ground in Brownsea Lagoon. Picture: Stuart Pentland

Paul Morton from the Birds of Poole Harbour charity said: “There’s no words to express how significant that experience was for the children. They may not know it now, but they’ve witnessed history being made and the beginnings of something really special.

“Only a few years ago, the thought of seeing a White-tailed Eagle over Poole Harbour was just a pipe dream, let alone the chance of experiencing it with a whole boat full of school children.”

Longfleet School site manager Robin Heawood added: “The children and us as staff were so lucky to see the UK’s largest bird of prey on our trip. This is something I’m sure they’ll never forget.”

Whilst year 6 pupil Nikolai Poate said: “I think it’s amazing that there’s a sea eagle in Poole Harbour and that we saw it. I never knew there was such a big eagle in the UK.”