Page last updated at 11:03 GMT, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 12:03 UK

Rare osprey sighting over gorge

Ospreys have spent the winter in Africa before migrating north

Staff at the Cheddar caves in Somerset spotted an osprey flying over the gorge on Saturday.

Sightings of the bird are rare in Somerset and usually take place in March or April.

Cheddar caves conservation officer Jon Hill saw a large bird of prey being mobbed by jackdaws and quickly identified it as an osprey.

Staff watched as it spent ten minutes soaring above them before flying west towards Axbridge.

Incredible moment

Ospreys spend the winter in Africa and then migrate north to summer nesting sites in Scotland and the North of England.

"It was absolutely extraordinary, one of the most powerful moments of my birding career," said Matt Brierley, an RSPB project officer, who is based at Cheddar caves as part of an RSPB project looking at the gorge's resident Peregrine falcons.

Jon Hill said: "It really was an incredible moment. I've never seen an osprey before, and will treasure the memory."

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