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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 April, 2005, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
Reserve visitors spot osprey pair
RSPB Conwy nature reserve (Pic from RSPB)
The Conwy reserve has recorded more than 200 bird species
A pair of ospreys were among the treats spotted by bird-lovers marking the 10th anniversary of a wetland nature reserve.

The birds circled the RSPB Conwy reserve on Saturday as the site welcomed hundreds of visitors.

On Sunday, TV presenter Iolo Williams cut a birthday cake as part of the site's official celebrations.

The reserve opened in 1995 after the construction of the Conwy tunnel.

It now attracts more than 50,000 human visitors a year and has played host to more than 200 types of birds.

Organisers' estimated around 700 people turned up on Saturday. As many as 500 visited on Saturday as part of a weekend of events including nature walks and bird-watching sessions.

Site manager Alan Davies said more than 50 species of birds has been recorded over the two days, but the highlight for most people on Saturday had been seeing the pair of ospreys.

He said: "It was fantastic and for many people it was the first sighting in the field of an osprey. They are really charismatic birds.

RSPB Conwy nature reserve (Pic from RSPB)
Two nearby lagoons are a crucial feeding ground for birds

"They were here circling for about five minutes, just having a look. They did not come down, there were too many people for them probably.

"People came out of the marquees to see them."

Mr Davies said the continuing cold weather meant that some winter species - including widgeon, golden eye and teal - were still at the location alongside newer visitors such as swallows, house martins and sand martins.

Wading birds are attracted to the area by two coastal lagoons next to the estuary which provide ideal feeding and roosting places.

Lapwings and skylarks are among the most important birds seen at the reserve as both appear on RSPB conservation lists.

Spring festival

The RSPB plans to develop visitor facilities at the reserve, at the north end of the Conwy Valley and on many birds' migration route, with work due to start on a new education centre.

Mr Davies said: "The current building was not designed for 50,000 visitors a year," he said.

"We can then expand the visitor centre and have a cafe."

The reserve is holding a three-day spring festival at the end of May.




SEE ALSO:
Ospreys return to re-built nest
04 Apr 05 |  North West Wales
Colourful visitors flock to Wales
20 Jan 05 |  South East Wales
Bird nest thefts at record UK low
12 Oct 04 |  Science/Nature


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