In what is to be my final instalment of the sightings blog before migrating down to RSPB Ynys-Hir to continue my internship, I would like to take the opportunity to say a big thankyou to the staff and volunteers who have been a fantastic group to work with during the past six months. Lake Vyrnwy really is a great place for wildlife with mine and fellow intern Tom’s reserve bird list finishing on 107 species and over 300 moth species recorded since April being just a couple of notable stats for this upland reserve.
Anyhow let’s get back to the business of recent sightings of which a Common Tern, the first record for the reserve since 2008, was the main highlight and also a big reward for anyone who ventured out on what turned into a rather soggy bank holiday Monday.
This Common Tern was the first record for Lake Vyrnwy since 2008 (Many thanks to Gavin Chambers for the photo).
The lake played host to 64x Mallard, 6x Teal, 7x Goosander, 3x Little Grebe, 1x Great Crested Grebe, 2x Cormorant, 1x Common Sandpiper (dam, 27th), 1x Redshank (Lakeside Hide, 25th), 63x gulls roosted (Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gull, 26th) and Kingfisher (Hafod, Lakeside Hide, Hotel Boathouse and bottom of dam, daily).
Other interesting avian sightings included, 4x Kestrel (family party, Gadfa Road, 28th), Wheatear (Gadfa Road, 27th), Dipper (Afon Vyrnwy, daily), Willow Tit and Marsh Tit (Sculpture Park, occasional) and Crossbill (Visitor Centre, regular).
Willow Tit has been sighted occasionally around the Sculpture Park and can be best separated from the similar Marsh Tit via its call (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the photo).
High levels of bat activity were recorded along the Afon Vyrnwy with Lesser Horseshoe, Daubenton’s, Common Pipistrelle and Soprano Pipistrelle observed. A small number of day flying bats were also sighted during the week around the dam, suggesting that the cold and wet weather of late could have had an impact on foraging success.
The bright red berries of Mountain Ash will provide an important source of food for thrushes during the winter months.
When the sun did shine the invertebrates took full advantage with Painted Lady, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Large White, Green-Veined White butterflies and Common Hawker dragonflies on the wing.
Macrolepidoptera Of The Week
Canary-shouldered Thorn is top moth this week. This colourful species is common in the UK where it frequents woodlands and gardens.
Canary-shouldered Thorn is top moth this week (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the photo).
A day foraging Otter below the dam was one of headline sightings from this period. The other was of three Redshank at the top end of the lake (Lakeside Hide, 23rd), the birds adding a bit of spice to Lake Vyrnwy’s autumn wader passage which up to then had consisted of two Oystercatchers.
An Otter showed superbly well below the dam (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the photos).
The lake played host to 38x Mallard, 1x Teal, 16x Goosander (10th), 2x Little Grebe, 2x Great Crested Grebe, 4x Cormorant, 2x Grey Heron, 2x Common Sandpiper (10th), 10x Lesser Black-Backed Gull (22nd) and Kingfisher (occasional, Hafod and Hotel Boathouse).
Other interesting avian sightings included, Hobby (flew over Llanwddyn, 23rd), Peregrine Falcon (occasional, Lakeside Hide), 2x Swift (over dam, 19th, last sighting this year?), Kingfisher (regular, below dam), Dipper (3x daily, Afon Vyrnwy) and Pied Flycatcher (Llanwddyn, 10th).
The heather, now in full bloom, is looking fantastic on the hillsides. I took this photograph whilst checking drains in the Hafod valley.
Painted Lady was a new species for the weekly butterfly transect with small numbers of Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Comma, Green-veined White and Large White also on the wing.
The distinctive Comma butterfly was recorded during one of our weekly transects (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the photo).
Odonata sightings included, Brown Hawker, Common Hawker, Black Darter, Emerald and Common Blue Damselfly.
Hummingbird Hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum is top moth this week. One was observed feeding on common knapweed flowers whilst undertaking a butterfly transect on the 15thAugust. It looks to have been a good summer for this species in the UK with lots of sightings registered on the butterfly conservation website.
Often misidentified as a Hummingbird the Hummingbird Hawkmoth is a regular immigrant into the UK from the Mediterranean (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the photograph taken off site).
Highlight of the week was a superb Clouded Yellow butterfly seen flying around Llanwddyn (3rd), this migrant species arrives into the UK from southern Europe in variable numbers every year and is not a common sight in Montgomeryshire. In fact the whole week turned out to be rather good for butterflies with Purple Hairstreak spotted in the Hotel Wood and the weekly transect producing 57x Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Small Skipper, Comma, Green-Viened White, Large White, Small White, Small Copper and Meadow Brown butterflies.
This superb Clouded Yellow butterfly was a good find in Llanwddyn during the week (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the photo)
Red Admiral butterfly was recorded in small numbers during the weekly butterfly transect.
Earlier in the week we unveiled the following mystery photo on the RSPB Mid Wales Facebook Page.
Well done to everyone who identified the mystery creature as a male Emerald Damselfly. This colourful damselfly is relatively frequent along waterbodies on the reserve at present. Other odonata sighted on the reserve this week included, Azure Damselfly, Black Darter, Common Hawker and Brown Hawker.
Emerald Damselfly can be found frequently along the reserves waterbodies at present.
High levels of bat activity were observed at dusk along the Afon Vyrnwy, with the bridge near the Sculpture Park (OS Grid: SJ020190) being a particular good spot to watch feeding Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bat as well as listen to a family of Tawny Owls. The Afon Vyrnwy also played host to Kingfisher (daily), Dipper (daily) and Grey Wagtail (daily).
Sightings on the lake included, 28x Canada Geese, 47x Mallard, 2x Teal, 9x Goosander, 1x Little Grebe, 3x Great Crested Grebe, 4x Cormorant, 5x Grey Heron and 2+ Common Sandpiper.
We've been treated to some beautiful sunsets on the reserve recently.
Other interesting avian sightings included, 1x Red Kite (regular over Llanwddyn), 1x Hobby (over Llanwddyn, 4th), 1x Goshawk (Red Trail, 4th) and Crossbill (regular, Visitor Centre, Orange, Red and Green Trails).
Blue-bordered Carpet is top moth this week. Uncommon in Montgomeryshire this species inhabits damp woodland.
Blue-bordered Carpet (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the image).