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Last updated: 15 February 2011

The first pair of breeding ospreys in Wales (since their persecution) was first discovered in 2004 at Glaslyn in North Wales.

Heavy persecution, in the form of egg collecting, hunting, habitat destruction and pollution eliminated breeding ospreys from much of the UK so it was great to see them returning to Wales.

In Wales there are two breeding pairs of osprey - at Glaslyn and the Dyfi Estuary whicn raised 3 chicks in 2011 and returned in 2012.

The RSPB have established a visitor centre at Pont Croesor near Porthmadog where you can watch the ospreys and their chicks from the comfort of a hide from March through to September from 10am-6pm daily.

The ideal habitat for ospreys includes conifers for nesting and good fishing, which makes the upper reaches of the Glaslyn estuary a great location.

The nest is huge, about six feet in diameter and big enough to accommodate four at a time. With chicks reaching adult size and a five foot wing span before leaving the nest, space is at a premium and can get a bit cramped.

The reserve have excellent cameras, which zoom in for close-up views of the nest and birds, so there is no need to go near the nest and risk disturbing them.

Webcam views of the 2011 birds

the visitor centre

You can also watch the birds on a BBC Wales NW webcam during the nesting period.

The birds have attracted thousands of visitors to the site since they first arrived in 2004.

The birds usually arrive back from their wintering ground in Africa during late March and April and leave again in late August/ September.

Each year, dedicated volunteers implement a 24/7 watch to protect the birds and their reddish brown spotted, white eggs.

In 2008, a record three chicks fledged the Glaslyn nest and the birds appear to be going from strength to strength.

The chicks normally stay in Africa for a couple of years before hopefully finding their way back to their place of birth in Wales, to breed and raise chicks.

You might like to join the Glaslyn Osprey Facebook Group too for regular updates on these magnificent birds of prey.

In more recent times, osprey have also been spotted at the Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve, three miles south of Machynlleth where there is also an .

In 2010 the male bird returned back late from Africa so the birds did not have time to breed but excitement was high as osprey were sighted in the skies above the reserve.

There is hope that this could become Wales' second osprey stronghold in the future, so fingers crossed that the birds breed.

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