Birdwatchers across the county are in for a treat: a pair of ospreys, birds which are fairly unusual to the area, have been spotted in Ranworth Broad over the past few days.

Ospreys were extinct in England until the middle of the last century, but have now started to migrate through Norfolk on their way to West Africa.

Nick Morritt, the visitor services and sales manager at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, said some ospreys have made their way to the area in the past few years, but not in groups.

'We've been getting sightings of ospreys in Ranworth and Cockshoot Broad for about two weeks now.

'We consistently get them this time of year. They migrate through and then linger in this area for a couple of weeks.

'Last year we saw them for a period of six to seven weeks. We've never had them in numbers, though, and we had a sighting of three together on Tuesday, though that is unconfirmed,' he said.

Mr Morritt attributed the birds' stop-over in the Broads to its tranquil environment, removed from the urban world.

The locations where the ospreys have been spotted so far are only accessible by boat.

'They come to these places because they are undistrubed areas; they can feed and hunt without fear,' he said.

In the future, Mr Morritt hopes the ospreys will become more permanent guests. 'They are not regular visitors to Norfolk and are definitely unusual to the area.

'Sightings of three together is encouraging; we hope that they breed and then settle here.'

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