Will Wigtown’s ospreys return?

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With spring well under way, anticipation is growing in Wigtown for a first glimpse of the bay’s ospreys returning from Africa.

But with long-term couple EP and HD failing to come back to their nest last year, it’s possible there could be some new faces on camera at the County Buildings for 2013.

Alexa Seagrave, RSPB Scotland community and wildlife officer, said: “Our male osprey, EP, was seen at another site last year, rather than the main nest we have cameras on. This strongly implies that his mate, HD, has sadly died, possibly on her migration, but certainly she hasn’t been seen now since 2011.

“Ospreys carry out an awe-inspiring journey from west Africa every year, but there are so many hazards en route, both natural and man-made, and there are always casualties.

“Although everyone who’s been following the story of HD will be sad not to see her back, her grandson was spotted in the area last year so, hopefully, we’re seeing a whole new generation of ospreys moving in.

“That’s a great success story for the species in Dumfries and Galloway, and we’re hoping to help show these amazing birds to both locals and visitors throughout the summer months.”

With the new season now under way, the Wigtown Bay Visitor Centre in the County Buildings is also sporting a new look, including a play area for children, and an interactive osprey nest, complete with fish cushions, built by Gill Bailey from Stuffit Upholstery in Whithorn.

Alexa would also like to hear from anyone who would be interested in volunteering with the project this year, helping to run events and meet visitors. To find out more, call her on 07919227854.

Recorded images of the ospreys from previous years can currently be seen in the visitor centre, which is jointly managed by RSPB Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Countryside Service. For more information, contact the visitor facilities in the County Buildings on 01988 402673.