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Once extinct in France, this species of bird of prey took refuge in the Scandola nature reserve and its surroundings.

THE OSPREY, the Scandola fishing eagle

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In South Corsica
Fauna and flora

The cliffs of the Reserve of Scandola, almost inaccessible, protect the nests of many birds, including the Osprey, the Scandola fishing eagle, the Mediterranean crested Cormorant, but also the swallow and the swift, in great numbers for the latter two. There are also the Gray Puffin, the Peregrine Falcon, the Gull and the Cormorant. One can also meet, mainly in spring and autumn, groups of egrets stopping over in the Reserve during their migration.

 

Among the marine mammals evolving in the Gulf of Porto, we frequently find the bottlenose dolphin (present on all the Corsican coasts). More exceptionally, we can see the Risso's dolphin, the sperm whale as well as the fin whale which is the second largest cetacean after the blue whale. Monk seals were present in large numbers in Corsica until the end of the 1960s. They were unfortunately decimated by the fishermen of the area. At the base of the Capo Rosso, an exceptional site has been named  because of them: the Bay of Monk Seal.

 

Wild goats are regularly seen on the steep cliffs of the Scandola Reserve. They are the descendants of domesticated goats lost during the herds' transhumance.

In the reptile family, we find everywhere in Corsica lizards, salamanders and geiko. It is also possible to meet sea turtles in the waters of the Scandola Reserve, but the encounter remains quite rare …

 

Scandola’s preserved ecosystem allows many scientists to study the richness of the Mediterranean underwater world. We can see a multitude of fish evolving, such as grouper, saddled seabream , corb, sar, sea bass, and many others ... When crossing the Gulf of Porto, you can see moonfish, which rise from great depths to the surface. Exocets (flying fish) can fly away from the bow ... The Scandola nature reserve is an exceptional site for the study of red coral populations, among other things, because its strict protection has allowed the coral to develop for more than 30 years without the pressure of fishing and reach sizes rarely observed at shallow depths outside protected sites. 

 

When visiting the cliffs of the Piana creeks, Capo Rosso and the Scandola nature reserve, from the boat, you can observe strange piles of branches located on the top of the rocky peaks that overlook the translucent waters. These are the osprey nests, the Scandola fishing eagle. True feat for a bird, the nest is a bulky cluster of branches, garnished with bark, grass and other plants. The largest can reach 2 meters in height.

The Osprey, the Scandola fishing eagle builds its nest on the rocky peaks of volcanic cliffs, a kind of natural dungeon that allows it to watch the fish on the surface. He then dives straight ahead, to catch his future lunch in the water.

 

Their hunting territory extends over the entire West Coast. You can see them even in the Calanche de Piana, Capo Rosso, the Gulf of Porto.

They are often seen during the visit to the Scandola Reserve. The best time to admire these birds of prey is in spring as the young are still in the nests and the parents frequently move around the nests to bring them food.

 

From the boat, if your camera has a fairly powerful zoom, you can immortalize this moment! You cannot approach the Osprey, the Scandola fishing eagle, it is a wild bird in its natural environment.

 

Today there are nearly 30 couples on the entire west coast, including a dozen in the Scandola Nature Reserve

Declared a protected species, this population is the result of special care to  these birds. They are now very numerous for this site and the population will not increase any more because the density is at its maximum. Some young people have also been transported to Maremma Park, in Tuscany, in an attempt to relaunch the species.

It is always a great pleasure to be able to observe the Osprey, the Scandola fishing eagle, during our sea trips. 

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