Osprey drops in on Westfield Pill

Osprey at Westfield Pill by Wayne Davies

Osprey at Westfield Pill © Wayne Davies

Visitor Wayne Davies had a lovely surprise when he visited our Westfield Pill Nature Reserve in mid-April and luckily he had his camera on him to capture the moment! An osprey chose that moment to drop in and grab a meal from the lagoon in full view of Wayne as you can see from his fantastic photo.

Westfield Pill is one of 17 nature reserves that we manage in Pembrokeshire and consists of an old railway line that is now a cycle track and footpath, scrubby meadow, limestone grassland and a lake which is partially tidal. It is an important site for the Bastard Balm plant and overwintering Little Grebes as well as being one of the few European sites for the Tentacled lagoon worm!

Ospreys are one of Wales’ rarest breeding birds with only a handful of pairs present across the country. They are seen slightly more regularly in the spring and autumn as they migrate between breeding sites further north in the Lake District and Scotland and their overwintering grounds in West Africa.

Ospreys are specialist fish-hunters as can be seen from the photograph as they have exceptionally long, sharp talons with which to grab hold of their slippery prey. They execute impressive plunges into the water at speed, often appearing to struggle to emerge again with a large fish grasped tightly before flying off with it to feed. Sites such as Westfield Pill offer ideal refuelling stations on their epic journeys but you still have to be very lucky to see, let alone photograph, such a sight.

Ospreys are still slowly recovering in numbers after steep declines through persecution over many decades. Even now, nests are often kept secret or heavily protected to prevent their eggs being interfered with.

Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust’s Cors Dyfi is an excellent place to see them during the breeding season with cameras providing an intimate glimpse into their nesting behaviour. WTSWW have installed a nesting platform at our Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve so hopefully they’ll take up residence soon as they are seen on passage there. Do let us know if you’re lucky enough to see an osprey in our patch and thanks to Wayne for sending his photo through!