Supporters of a project to re-establish a breeding population of Osprey's on the south coast are celebrating this week.

The Poole Harbour Osprey Project has seen the first male Osprey return to the harbour since the birds were raised and released in 2017.

The charity leading the initiative, Birds of Poole Harbour, were alerted to the bird's presence when they received a photo on Wednesday from one of their static camera traps, deployed to the south of the harbour.

Project team members then spent the day looking for the bird so they could read its leg ring and confirm its identification.

Birds of Poole Harbour co-founder Paul Morton said: "This is such exciting news, we can’t believe we’ve actually got one of our chicks back.

"This is the big next step in seeing Osprey colonise the south coast once more after an absence of around 180 years.

"When they left the harbour on migration back in 2017, their fate is completely out of our hands, so to know this bird is safe and well having not seen him for two years is just the best feeling."

Now the charity hopes that the return of this male Osprey could lead to breeding taking place in Poole Harbour as early as 2020 or 2021.

Osprey are a large, fish eating bird of prey that was once widespread across the whole of Western Europe.

However, populations were persecuted to extinction through the 18th and 19th century and they never recovered in England.

According to experts the male's appearance has already drawn the attention of a female Osprey which has been present in the harbour since April.

Mr Morton said: "There’s still a long way to go with this project as we’ll be bringing the next batch of Osprey chicks down from Scotland this summer, and more in 2020 and 2021.

"The support we received from the local community has been incredible, we can already feel the excitement around town.

"We especially need to thank the landowner for allowing us carry out te project on their land, and also Poole based company Sea Fresh, who provided us fish for our birds, which obviously saw them in good stead."