Leicestershire-born Osprey spotted nesting in West Africa

A rare Osprey, who was residing at Belvoir Castle, has been spotted at his winter nesting site 5,000km away in West Africa.

The bird of prey - also known as 4K - was tracked via satellite to his 17-year-long home in a Guinea mangrove, with his two chicks, which he reared at the Leicestershire castle this year.

4K has a small tracking system on his back and has been ringed for identification.

After he made the 3000mile journey to Guinea in West Africa, the group Conservation without Borders, who follow the migration of animals and birds across the planet to help save them from potential dangers, wanted to find him.

Using local communities, fisherman and specialist equipment, the team spotted 4K in the African sunshine.

He's expected to return to Belvoir castle in April, and its hoped his chicks will make it too, although 70 per cent of chicks don't.

Sasha Dench from Conservation without Borders said: "They fly across the channel, they fly across the Sahara desert. If they get blown out into sea by the wind they often don't make it back on course.

"I mean they're doing this journey by themselves, they've never been before. No one is guiding them, they just set off on their own and travel 3,000 miles down to Africa.

"It's a low survival rate but obviously its enough that they're still increasing in number now in the UK, so we have hope that they will make it back."

4K has made 17 migrations to his favourite mangrove tree in Africa and has clocked up around 80 thousand miles - over 3 times round the globe.

In past years, this Osprey has been spotted on the Belvoir Estate hunting for fish in the summer and makes the cross-continental journey to Gineau every year, as a favoured winter nesting site.

This Osprey was born at Rutland Water and returns to Leicestershire in the warmer months.

Staff at Belvoir Castle, Gratham, built two potential nesting sites in secret locations, in the hope he may be tempted to move in last year, and he did.

His chicks, born at the end of August, were the first to be born at Belvoir for 200 years.

Female Ospreys came and went but none stopped to breed, so when he did find a mate, and settle on a nest, there was a lot of excitement at the prospect of chicks.