During the lighter evenings, we drop Rebecca off to her weekly volunteering in Neyland and head to Neyland Marina where we enjoy the walk/cycle through Westfield Pill Nature Reserve. This saves multiple car journeys back and for and as an added bonus means the younger girls and I get fresh air and exercise. On one of our walks, we spotted empty bird feeders dotted along the walk so the girls were longing to fill them up.
Visit Westfield Pill, Neyland Marina
You can access Westfield Pill Nature Reserve from Neyland Marina (Sat Nav Postcode: SA73 1PY). There are free parking spaces available and ample cycle routes leading to this location.
Recently a #2MinuteStreetClean board has been added to the beginning of the walk which is a great idea. The “litter picker” has never been there during our visits but we always pick up litter we see anyway.
During previous walks we had spotted empty hanging bird feeders and also empty log reindeer feeders. So we decided to bring a bag of bird seed from home to fill them up. Typically during this visit, as we walked along we couldn’t find them! They were no longer in all the spaces we’d spotted them earlier and I began to wonder if I’d carried the heavy bag back and forth on our walk for no reason- “weight walking”!
We enjoyed our walk anyway. As we come here weekly, we like to mix up our activities- some weeks we bring scooters or bikes etc. As we were on foot, the girls enjoyed running and jumping.
We stopped to feed the ducks and swans- we love the adorable cygnets.
The girls had fun scattering flower seeds.
I tried to get a nice photo of the girls with the tranquil water view behind them. It took many attempts as they kept doubling up creased with laughter. In the end I caught a standing up laughing pose which I love- as with all siblings they don’t always get on so it’s lovely to catch the moments when they do.
Feeding the Birds
Then on our way back we spotted a clearing, and in this clearing we found all the bird feeders and log deer feeding tables now in one place. We had missed them on our way out as when we came to the fork where you choose between sticking to the main path or going to see the swans we chose the swans. Now we know where to find the wild bird feeding area.
The girls loved scooping up the bird seed and pouring it into the feeders. There are lots of them so we quickly emptied our 1kg bag of wild bird seed.
Feed Garden and Wild Birds All Year Around
Of course winter feeding is of most benefit to birds but food shortages can occur at any time of the year. By feeding all year round, you’ll give them a better chance to survive food shortages whenever they may occur.
Feeding Birds During Spring & Summer
The RSPB suggest that birds need high protein foods during Spring and Summer as they are moulting. Good seed mixtures are a good choice (we chose a summer RSPB branded mix). Sunflower seeds are also good. We saw empty nut feeders so had planned to bring peanuts with us on a future visit but they’re not advised at this time of year in case adult birds feed them to their nestlings.
If the weather turns cold or wet or exceptionally dry during spring or summer, a severe shortage of insect food can occur. Earthworms will be unavailable to ground feeding birds because of the hard soil. If this happens, dried mealworms can be provided to prevent starvation.
Birds are very clever and time their breeding period to spring and summer when there is a good availability of natural food, but if there is a temporary shortage extra food on the bird tables can make a big difference to the survival of the young.
Feeding the Birds During Autumn and Winter
During Autumn and Winter birds need a lot of food, so in your garden you can put food and water out twice a day. Continue with a good seed mix, sunflowers and mealworms. You can now add peanuts (only in suitable mesh feeders) and in the colder weather home made fat balls.
We added more seed to this tray, but I wonder if it’s meant to be a natural rain bird bath? The birds could use fresh water in this hot weather.
After filling up the bird feeders we quietly left the clearing and watched for a while as birds timidly made their way into the area spotting their replenished feeders.
Westfield Pill Nature Reserve is managed by The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. Over 150 bird species have been recorded here, benefiting from the undisturbed woodland areas and the wetlands. Osprey, Little Egrets and Little Grebe are attracted to the wetlands and reed beds. Kingfishers, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Mallard and Heron breed here and Goldeneye and Mallard overwinter. Some of the rarer species recorded are Night Heron, Temmincks Stint, Hoopoe, and Black Neck Grebe. The rare and beautiful Firecrest is an annual winter visitor. Wild birds include Fieldfare, Redwings, Siskins and Dunnock. Otters are also frequently spotted.. Other mammals include Stoat, Weasel, Fox, Badger, Bank vole and squirrels- which we usually spot on our visits when there aren’t too many cyclists around.
It’s a lovely place enjoyed by walkers, dog walkers, families, runners, cyclists, photographers and wildlife lovers. From here you can walk (or jog or cycle) to Rosemarket and onto Johnston or Haverfordwest.
Have you visited Westfield Pill Nature Reserve?
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