ONE of Britain’s rarest birds of prey has been spotted in the town.

An osprey has been seen fishing along the Mersey as well as making regular appearances at the Norton Marsh nature reserve near Moore.

The sighting is highly unusual according to the Cheshire Wildlife Trust who said osprey pairs elsewhere in the country are currently raising chicks with the nearest confirmed nesting ospreys some distance away in Wales or the Midlands.

The nature charity said the bird could be a young adult who has made the migration from Africa but has been unsuccessful in finding a mate this season.

Tom Marshall, from the Cheshire Wildlife Trust, said: “It’s a real summer treat to be able to see an osprey so close to Warrington and the Mersey.

“This is an iconic bird in Britain, and with birdwatchers often having to travel hundreds of miles to see one, to witness an osprey with all its fishing prowess here on the Mersey is very special indeed.

“The fact that it has stayed around for a few days also shows the continuing health of the Mersey too, the same improvements that have allowed wildlife like the otter, salmon and water voles to recover in our local waterways.”

The last time an osprey visited the area for an extended period was in 2006.

The brown and white bird fought back from near extinction with around 250 pairs now in Scotland, Wales and the Lake District.