Tuesday 20 February 2024


A few days ago, we visited Westfield Pill. Bird-wise it was generally fairly quiet, but it is the time of year that the heronry there is getting into full swing. Several pairs were at their nest sites, some possibly already incubating eggs, others still displaying and/or nest-building. 

One bird flew in with quite a long stick which appeared to be an awkward item to pass to its mate on the nest. After a few minutes, of what almost seemed like a tug-of-war session, the stick was eventually taken by the bird on the nest. 

Both herons then sort of cuddled up together and rested for a short while. The stick was simply left on the side of the nest, appearing to be no longer of importance. Perhaps it will have been placed into the nest fabric sometime later on.

The Westfield Pill heronry is a fairly easy one to watch from a distance, as the birds are probably quite used to people on the footpath on the opposite side of the pill.  Elsewhere, herons are not so used to people and so can be easily disturbed. 

There are several other known regularly occupied heronries, and their nests have been counted in most recent years. These are atBosherston, Cych Valley, Llys-y-fran, Millin Pill, Priskilly, Sealyham, Upton and Velindre Farchog (the last one needs a counter).

Other sites, especially those with only one or two pairs (including some not occupied every year) are probably missed. If you do know of a heronry elsewhere, please let us know via pembsbirds@hotmail.co.uk so that it can be added to the heronry register. 

The BTO heronries census is the longest-running bird monitoring scheme, having been running since 1928. The 2023 report is available here together with details about how to get involved.