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Conwy

Conwy
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  • Blog Post: Snowflakes in September?

    Although the mornings feel autumnal (today was the first morning with a jacket over my t-shirt since June!), afternoons this week have been like mid-summer: warm sunshine that has encouraged the last of the butterflies, bees and dragonflies to take to the wing. Our weekly flying-insect survey recorded...
  • Blog Post: Feeding frenzy in the river

    The focus of birding interest on the reserve is often the lagoons, scrub and grassland, but this week's spectacle is in the estuary. We've noticed it each day on the incoming and outgoing tide: many hundreds of birds in a feeding frenzy in the channel closest to the saltmarsh. Black-headed gulls...
  • Blog Post: A busy week on a muddy pool

    Last week I wrote about how we manage the water, aiming to have lower water levels in late Summer and Autumn in order to provide feeding opportunities for migrating shorebirds. This week's birds suggest we got it about right! Highlight of the Autumn so far was a pectoral sandpiper , the fifth...
  • Blog Post: Muddy edges = wader heaven

    Each Summer, lots of visitors ask us about the water levels in the lagoons, especially those viewing from the Coffee Shop where the changes are most apparent. Some people suggest that there should be more water in the lagoons, but the birds think otherwise. As wading birds fly south from their short...
  • Blog Post: Return of the Great White

    A great white egret has been here since Thursday (4th), feeding in and roosting around the Shallow Lagoon; we think (based on the markings on its bill) that it's the same bird that was here in late July and then went missing for a week - possibly moving to the RSPB's Langford Lowfields nature...
  • Blog Post: Giving insects a home

    Southbound bird migration hasn't really got into full swing yet, so our attention has focused this week on some of the smaller winged animals that make their home at Conwy. Volunteers Rob and Ruth Morgan conduct a weekly transect walk around the reserve, monitoring butterflies, dragonflies and bumblebees...
  • Blog Post: Twelve flowers to spot at Conwy in August

    In June and July, I wrote blogs highlighting some of the flowers that you might expect to see over the coming weeks. They've proved a bit of a hit, so here is the latest instalment, featuring a dozen plants you can see here this month. A good number of the July flowers are still in bloom, so look...
  • Blog Post: Whiteout!

    The week has been book-ended by two rare species. Monday kicked off with a great white egret , only the second reserve record (and the first to plant its feet firmly on reserve mud). The size of a grey heron, it dwarfs the many little egrets feeding in the Shallow Lagoon, as shown in Adrian Foster's...
  • Blog Post: Southbound birds and breeding dragons

    The week started with our reserve Bioblitz, when lots of pairs of eyes, ears and equipment came to scour the reserve to survey the wildlife on the reserve. With almost 1000 records in, the current total stands at 439 different species recorded in one day, of which 56 species hadn't been recorded...
  • Blog Post: Twelve flowers to spot at Conwy in July

    Last month, I wrote a blog featuring some of the more obvious wild flowers at Conwy that you could see if you visit in June. It proved popular, so here's another one with flowers you might see this month. I haven't repeated any of the flowers from the June blog , but some of those will continue...
  • Blog Post: The little things that run the world

    This is National Insect Week , so we thought we'd show you one of the littler things than run the nature reserve. It's a figwort weevil , and it is one of several invertebrates photographed on the reserve recently by Mal Delamare, and shared on our Flickr page . Close-up photographs shared here...
  • Blog Post: A coterie of orchids

    It's been all about the orchids this week, as we conducted our annual count - which takes longer each year as they pop up in new places and in greater numbers! Did you know that the collective noun for orchids is a coterie? No, I didn't either. We have five species here, and most seem to be...
  • Blog Post: Time for chicks

    This is a tense time for wardens on nature reserves - there are lots of young birds around, and they won't all survive, so how are ours doing? The great-crested grebes still have both chicks on the Shallow Lagoon, now around half the size of the adults. The youngsters still try to hitch a ride on...
  • Blog Post: Fluffy chicks, red damselflies and a walking weatherman

    After the rush of Spring migration, nature is now settling into its breeding season. Some of our waterbirds have chicks, and it's a delight to watch the two stripy-headed great-crested grebe chicks poking their heads from beneath the parental wings, soliciting food. Thanks to Rita Jones for sharing...
  • Blog Post: Our week in pictures

    We've had some wonderful wildlife on the reserve this week, including a few local rarities. And our visitors have taken some wonderful pictures, so rather than writing a long blog, we thought we'd showcase some of the best we've seen. A blue-headed wagtail (the continental race of yellow...
  • Blog Post: Birds and bees

    Imagine being a chick. For the last few weeks, you've been cosseted in an egg, warmed by the downy feathered lining of your nest and the warm belly of your parent(s). Most birds - generally females - have a 'brood patch' of bare feathers so that eggs and chicks get warmth from the adult's...
  • Blog Post: Sounds of Africa - in Conwy's reedbeds

    April has dawned with its typical weather of sunshine and showers. But between the rain and hail, new birds are arriving and Spring bird migration gets properly underway. So, what's the consensus about arrivals so far? The first sedge warbler (Friday 8th) was earlier than the average, though not...
  • Blog Post: The first Spring-kling of migrants arrive

    Typically, as soon as the schools broke for Easter, the weather broke after almost a month without rain. But the rather grotty weekend weather didn't deter people from getting out and seeing wildlife. This was our first week of 'proper' Spring migration, with small groups of sand martins...
  • Blog Post: How many millions of litres of water does it take to top up a lagoon?

    There's definitely the feel of change in the air at the moment, with more signs of spring being seen daily. A chiffchaff has been singing away, cowslips are starting to peek above ground, yellow coltsfoot flowers speckle the grass, and the leaves on the wild privet bushes are unfurling along the...
  • Blog Post: Waves of starlings fill the sky

    February will be remembered here as one of the best months for murmurating starlings for many years. By the end of the month, at least 30,000 (and that's a conservative estimate) were coming in to the reedbeds to roost, preceded on calm evenings by spectacular displays across the sky. This band of...
  • Blog Post: Doing a great job for nature

    Improved weather over the weekend has encouraged more people to get outside, and made it easier to see some of the smaller birds. Firecrests have been seen in several places over the weekend, suggesting that at least three are present, while the water pipit was seen on the Shallow Lagoon islands today...
  • Blog Post: Peacocks, coltsfoot and chiffchaffs - the weird winter continues

    We've no idea where January went! We've been busy on the reserve, planning our events for this year, making some alterations to the kitchen in the Coffee Shop, cutting back bramble along the trails and creating new micro-habitats, and installing solar PV panels on the roof of the Visitor Centre...
  • Blog Post: New year, new birds and a new offer for schools in North Wales

    Is it boring to start with the subject of rain? Today is our 60th consecutive day of rain at the reserve - the last dry day here was 11 November! Some of the paths are now pretty wet, and we recommend wellies or walking boots over the next few days. But there is snow on the peaks of the Carneddau mountains...
  • Blog Post: Higher water levels brings us a wisp of snipe

    Thankfully, the Conwy Valley flooding hasn't affected the reserve, except that it's created some new ponds where we didn't have them before. The levels in the lagoons are rising back towards where we want them to be for the forthcoming nesting season, and this has pushed feeding snipe from...
  • Blog Post: Good times for ducks

    Will it ever stop raining? The last 24-hour period we had without rain was 11 November, and today has been another day of wind and rain. It doesn't encourage you to get out and see wildlife, so well done to those who have donned their waterproofs and gone for a walk. On the upside, the weather has...