VIP returns to Panshanger Park

Osprey _09092015_07 Ron Baber

Thousands of people have visited Tarmac’s Panshanger Park so far this year, but last month the park welcomed a very special visitor – a migrating osprey.

This spectacular bird was caught on camera by Ron Baber, as it helped itself to a tasty trout snack from Osprey Lake, to keep up its energy reserves so it could continue its 3000 mile flight to overwinter in West Africa.

Ospreys are migratory birds of prey which use similar routes every year.  These magnificent birds – with a wingspan of around 6 feet – have been an annual visitor to Panshanger Park since at least 2006.  This date coincides with Tarmac  completing the sand and gravel extraction in the area now known as Osprey Lake – and stocking the lake with trout.   The lake forms part of the nature reserve within the park, which is managed in partnership with Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.

Jennifer Gilbert, Panshanger Park People and Wildlife Officer says,

“Although the osprey catches its prey in Osprey Lake, it then carries it to a perch somewhere else in the park to eat it.  Watching it fishing at close quarters is a very special sight – and one caught by many park visitors – as this particular female bird stayed in the park for 10 days.

“After spending the winter in West Africa, ospreys return north in March to their breeding grounds in Rutland Water, Wales, Cumbria or Scotland – but they generally visit Panshanger Park on the southern leg of their journey”.