26 Sept 2022

PHOTOS: Rare bird extinct in Ireland spotted on summer holidays in Laois

A rare bird that was hunted to extinction in Ireland, has spent the past month on its holidays in Laois.

These photos of an osprey bird of prey were taken by Richard Duff who has nature hides at his Ballyfin farm for photographers.

"This osprey has stopped off in Laois on its migration route back to Africa.   Not alone is it a rare sight in Laois but is also rare in Ireland," he said.

Richard adds that the bird had spent the last month fishing at Laois Angling Centre in Coolrain which is run by John Phelan and Enda Thompson Phelan.

Laois ornithologist and conservationist Ricky Whelan said it is great news to see an osprey in Laois. 

"They went extinct in Ireland in the 19th century, basically all shot for fun. They are also called fish hawks or fish eagles. They were probably in Ballyfin because of Ballyfin lake nearby. They are pretty frequently seen here as they migrate between  continents in spring and autumn. They are expected to probably breed again this year in Northern Ireland for the first time, and will probably make a comeback to Ireland, partly due to climate change.

"It is great to see them in the county. We had one in Pallas Lake in Offaly two years ago, they are a beautiful bird and there is nothing to fear from them. I'm glad to hear that it was welcomed with patience at Laois Angling Centre, they are to be commended," he said.

Many thanks to Richard for sending in these great photos to the Leinster Express. 

See more of Richard's photos in this gallery below:

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