FOR the first time in 50 years a pair of marsh harriers is breeding in Poole Harbour and has produced young.
The birds of prey, the largest of the harriers and once a common site flying over the harbour, are breeding in the reed beds around the Wareham Channel.
In the 1950s the harbour boasted 60 per cent of the entire UK population of breeding Marsh Harrier but by 1963 there were none.
Extinct as a breeding bird in Dorset until 2010, a pioneer pair successfully raised young at an RSPB nature reserve in Weymouth and today the only other pair in the county are at Lodmoor.
It is thought that human intrusion, egg collecting, shooting and flooding were the main causes for their demise 50 years ago with the pesticide DDT causing the final blow.
But with careful habitat man-agement and better protection, the birds are making a remark-able comeback across the whole country and their return has been welcomed in Dorset.