I have been suffering for quite a while now, so this morning I finally gave in and went to see the local doctor here in Machynlleth.
It was a little embarrassing. She asked me to explain the symptoms I have been experiencing. "I keep seeing large birds" I told her, "particularly near water, and I think they are all ospreys. I’ve even taken photos of them.”
"Don't ospreys migrate in the winter to somewhere warmer?" she asked. Of course, I knew she was right but I'm still convinced the birds I’ve seen are ospreys.
Osprey spotted on the banks of the Dyfi over the weekend looking for fish, February 18th
"I think I know what's wrong with you" the doctor said. "Ospreytitis!"
Apparently it affects certain individuals around this time of year. Large birds, anything from a crow upwards, can turn into ospreys, especially if glimpsed only briefly ……
Pale chested osprey eating a fish near the mouth of the estuary, February 19th
Osprey spotted fishing in the Dyfi River last week, February 15th
“Your symptoms are likely to get worse during the coming weeks” she explained. “The only remedy is complete withdrawal from bird watching and photography for several weeks. It's very tough, we doctors call it 'Cold Osprey'. From late March through to May, when the real ospreys return to the UK, normal bird ID skills will return and you'll feel a lot better."
What a relief - I hope she's right!