Birds at Cwm Ivy

Cwm Ivy marsh and bird hide on the Gower

The tidal nature of Cwm Ivy marsh brings in a host of fresh nutrients, fish and invertebrates with it, providing a veritable feast for a range of bills.

The bright white plumage of little egrets makes them the most noticeable species. They can be spotted on a daily basis, often bent over a shallow pool, patiently looking for fish trapped by the receding tide, along with their larger cousin, the grey heron

If you’re lucky you may even see the dazzling flash of electric blue as kingfishers dart past or dive in for prey. They prefer slow moving water where they hunt for fish and aquatic insects. 

Lapwing can be seen here throughout the year, listen out for their distinctive ‘peewit’ sounding calls. They also breed here in small numbers and lay their eggs on the ground around the outskirts of the marsh. 

Bird watching at Cwm Ivy

We’ve two bird hides at Cwm Ivy, Cheriton hide and Monterey hide, located either side of the marsh: perfect for enjoying the sights and sounds of this evolving marsh, which also forms part of the wider Whiteford National Nature Reserve. 

Cwm Ivy bird hide
Bird hide next to conifers at Cwm Ivy, Gower
Cwm Ivy bird hide

Winter brings a new flock of inhabitants

Gregarious and noisy starlings can be seen sweeping through the skies and picking at the ground.

Look out for the curved bill of the curlew probing the marsh for worms, shellfish and shrimps

The star of the winter show – hen harriers. These are by far the rarest bird of prey in the UK and are a red listed species. Like the curlew, they spend their summers in the uplands breeding and seek refuge in the lowlands during winter months. They can often be spotted hunting on the marsh. Males are a pale grey with black tipped wings while females and juveniles are brown, with black tipped wings and a white tail. 

Hen Harrier
A hen harrier in flight
Hen Harrier

Future inhabitants?

Conditions at Cwm Ivy, a fully functioning saltmarsh, suggest that it’s perfect habitat for the Osprey. We’ve seen them around in the past and hope that one day in the future, they choose to breed at Cwm Ivy. 

Video

If you build it, they will come

Ospreys are regularly seen in the area during their spring and autumn migration. To encourage nesting at Cwm Ivy, we've built this platform to encourage them to set up home. Check out the time-lapse video of its construction

Video

Last autumn's visitor

We were delighted to welcome a juvenile Osprey to Cwm Ivy in September 2017. Could this be a sign that they might choose to nest at Cwm Ivy in the future?