Friday, June 24, 2011
Ospreys in Corsica!
Take a look at the very substantial nest in my picture. It is one of many such nests in Corsica’s famous Réserve Naturelle de Scandola on the island’s West Coast. It belongs to an osprey family – and is evidence that the local population of ospreys is thriving and well-established.
The osprey – also known as the sea-eagle or (in French) a balbuzard, lives near large bodies of water such as coasts and lakes, and it likes nesting on vertiginous, high pinnacles of rock making the nest almost completely inaccessible to possible predators. I would say that the osprey, with its 5ft wingspan is pretty near the top of the food chain here in Corsica and does not have much to fear from anyone.
Here in Scandola the bird is doubly protected. As well as having plenty of rocky pinnacles, the Parc protects this magnificent bird from us humans. You can’t climb here, you can’t snorkel here except in certain well-defined spots, and you can only walk here on carefully delineated paths.
And the osprey population is thriving. From a low of eight pairs a few years ago, the numbers have risen and risen. On our visit to Scandola recently we saw a number of individuals and at least four nests. We saw quite a few of the birds themselves – and I note, from careful enlargement of a photo I took of some cliffs, that I have managed to take an extra picture of a distant osprey I didn’t even realise was there when I took the photo.
I read in Corse Matin last week that from its stronghold in Corsica, the osprey has begun to re-colonise northern Italy – a territory from which it has been absent for some decades. All it has needed has been a bit of support, and Scandola seems to have given the species exactly that.