Osprey nesting platform installed to attract rare species to Bodenham Lake

Tuesday 3rd April 2018

An osprey nesting platform has been erected at Bodenham Lake nature reserve in the hope that osprey, whose migratory path passes over the lake, will stay to nest and breed at the site.

The platform has been stalled as part of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s Lugg Wetland Gem project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund which is improving the wildlife habitat at the nature reserve with the help of volunteers from the local community.

In the wild, osprey prefer tall trees which have been damaged and have broken tops caused by storms, heavy snow, or lightning strikes which provide a secure base for their nests but these are increasingly rare in the modern landscape.

The nesting platform is forged from steel and was forged by Downey Engineering, The platform sits on top of a 30 foot pole which gives osprey a clear view of their hunting territory and any potential predators who may threaten the nest generously funded by Herefordshire Wildlife Rescue, Herefordshire Ornithological Club and the National Gardens Scheme,

Bodenham Lake staff and volunteers were joined by a fantastic team from Western Power Distribution who volunteered their time and equipment for the day, installing the tower with ease and even making tea for the assembled onlookers! Volunteers arrived earlier to assemble a collection of twiggy sticks and moss to form a simple nest to attract the eye of any passing osprey. One volunteer commented: “It was a brilliant day! The volunteers breathed a sigh of relief when Western Power Distribution guys turned up – we’d never have managed without their expertise!”

Western Power Distribution Team Manager Gary Lambert said: “We were happy to help and hope the osprey take advantage of their new nesting platform.”

Sophie Cowling who is managing the Lugg Wetland Gem project said: “It is so exciting to have this installed at the lake – it looks ideal so thanks so much to everyone who helped to make it happen! We think the placement of the platform will be perfect for osprey and later this year we will be securing a perch and live stream camera so that we can watch and see if we get Osprey visiting or nesting! The platform is in the wildlife refuge area where there is restricted access so any osprey are not disturbed but there will be great views from the bird hides.
“More work will be taking place at the reserve this autumn when we are reprofiling the lake to create shallower banks and establishing 7500m2 of reed bed. This type of habitat is becoming increasingly rare but is fantastic for all sorts of wildlife species – including fish so there will plenty of meals available for any osprey!”

Osprey were heavily persecuted in Victorian times by egg collectors and became extinct in the UK in the 20th century. They returned to breed in Scotland in 1954, and in 2001 Osprey fledged in England for the first time in 160 years. In 2004 two pairs of Osprey colonised sites in Wales for the first time.

An ideal osprey nest site requires an area with a variety of good fishing habitats and available fish species. Rivers, large streams, lakes, lochs, large ponds, gravel pits, estuaries and shallow coastline all provide opportunities for ospreys to fish and a mixture of these habitats is most advantageous. The combination of the proximity of the River Lugg and the density of lakes in the area makes the floodplain of the River Lugg ideal for Osprey.


Ospreys have been seen previously over the Lugg Valley, passing through in spring and autumn - most likely to and from the Scottish Highlands on their annual migration. Records of osprey sightings have increased in recent decades with up to nearly 30 seen in one year.