Flying back: UK Conservation Without Borders: Missing Osprey lands on a beach in Galicia near La Coruña


A closely watched osprey surprised its trackers and landed on Spanish shores after missing at sea for more than two days.

Its sudden appearance on the shores of Galicia prompted many questions from the British group Conservation Without Borders, which had been following the bird’s route since it left the tip of Cornwall on September 10.

The large bird of prey, named Glen, was presumed dead until it appeared on a small rocky outcrop off the tip of Galicia in northwestern Spain after disappearing from radar for an “unusually long period”.

Glen the Osprey has landed off Galicia after conservationists lost track of the bird for more than two days. Photo: Conservation Without Borders

Conservation Without Borders chief executive and UN Convention on Migratory Species ambassador Sacha Dench said she was surprised to see the alert, but was “even more shocked” after finding out how Glen had landed.

“Glen took off into a pretty strong headwind from the northwest, so after two days we figured he probably didn’t stand a chance,” she told The Olive Press.

“But then, at 10 p.m. on September 13, we got a ping from him and on the radar you’ll notice there are a lot of straight lines and an exact 90 degree angle.”

Route of the Osprey Conservation Without Borders
An animation from a ship tracking website showed the Osprey’s course at sea as it hitched a ride on two ships. Photo: Conservation Without Borders

Dench said Glen was initially blown away, and the exhausted bird then spotted a fishing boat to land on.

Glen then switched to a large shipping container when he realized he was heading in the wrong direction, before finally taking to the skies and discovering land, and most likely delicious seafood in Galicia.

Conservation Without Borders launched the Flight of the Osprey expedition this year, tracking the movements of ospreys on their annual migration south from the UK to West Africa.



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