Nature reserve provides high rise accommodation for ospreys

Teifi Marshes, a nature reserve managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales in north Pembrokeshire, has a new addition to its site infrastructure. An artificial osprey nest has been erected within the centre of the marsh to help nesting and hopefully breeding opportunities for the osprey in this part of the country.

Osprey Nest Tommy Evans

Osprey Nest by Tommy Evans

Ospreys have been seen migrating over Wales for many years yet it was only in May 2004 that a pair of ospreys were found nesting near Croesor in the Glaslyn Valley and another pair near Welshpool in mid-Wales. This was the first time that the species had been officially recorded as breeding in Wales. Since then, records of breeding pairs are on the increase with a breeding pair sited on the Cors Dyfi nature reserve, managed by the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, in 2011.

The artificial nest at Teifi Marshes was made by Wildlife Trust volunteers and consists of a 1m wide nest created with twigs and branches, infilled with moss and leaves, fixed to a wooden pallet. This wooden pallet was then fixed to a 35ft telegraph pole and transported on a tracked dumper truck to its location on the marsh.

A 7 tonne digger was used to raise and fix the pole into the ground yet required the use of wooden bog mats to traverse through the boggy terrain. A J Butler Contracting was the contractor used for the job and the only ones courageous to venture onto the wetland without fear of losing machinery! They did a fantastic job with minimal disturbance to wetland habitats.

Osprey Nest  by Nathan Walton

Osprey Nest by Nathan Walton

The nest can be seen from the reserve’s car park and other locations on site, protruding above the willow on the marsh. A single male osprey had been seen flying up and down the river Teifi during the spring of this year looking for a potential nesting site so the hope is that when they start migrating up through wales again next spring, a pair may just be tempted to take up residence on the reserve. Fingers crossed.

Nathan Walton, Wildlife Trust Officer for Pembrokeshire, said: "Our efforts here go some way in providing a suitable nesting site for the osprey although it remains to be seen as to how quickly if and when an osprey decides to take residence. Every little helps and a breeding pair would certainly make a great addition to the reserve."

The installation of the osprey platform was partly funded by the Ceredigion Bird Group, Pembrokeshire Bird Group and the mid-Pembrokeshire local branch of the Wildlife Trust.