Spring is finally here; the chiffchaffs have arrived and are singing away and the swallows are swooping around overhead. Furthermore, other spring migrants to arrive include the first Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers of the year. Other highlights of the week are as follows:
Osprey: One west over the reserve on the 15th and one remarkably flew right over the RSPB shop this morning.
Cuckoo: First bird of the year seen and heard from the red trail on the 19th and 20st.
Hen Harrier: Seen over the moorlands.
Whinchat: Seen on the moorland yesterday.
Wheatear: Good numbers on the moorland now.
Common Sandpiper: Seen from the Lakeside hide yesterday.
Goshawk: Seen briefly from the blue trail.
Lesser Redpoll: One on the feeders in front of the Coed y Capel hide yesterday afternoon.
Now is a great time to go looking for migrants and other resident birds. As more birds begin to arrive for the breeding season there is a great window of opportunity to get great views of the birds before the trees begin to grow their leaves again. And who knows you might spot the first Wood Warbler or Spotted Flycatcher of the year here at Lake Vyrnwy.
The snow has turned to rain and the rivers are up. BUT - while the roads are clear of snow now, it is windy and trees are still falling. On my way over from Bala this morning, I had to stop twice to lift sizeable branches blocking the road. There is also flooding in many places. Lambing on the farm is still cancelled. The road around the lake is generally open on the north side BUT trees are still falling - one came down this morning.
However - we are open!
Not strictly to do with RSPB Lake Vyrnwy - but in Llangollen this morning, where snow still remains heaped at the roadsides and the hills are more white than black, I saw the first swallow of the season.
The first chiffchaff was singing by the bridge several days ago, and this morning another was singing in the churchyard.
So things are on the move...
By now, in previous years, we would already have been in the Lakeside hide for two weeks, introducing friends old and new to the nesting peregrines.
This year, for obvious reasons, we have so far been unable to get up there. The road around the lake is still partially closed because of fallen trees, and it has not yet been possible for us to inspect the Lakeside hide, so we cannot recommend anyone to visit it for the time being.
Furthermore, at the moment, it doesn't seem likely that we shall have the necessary resources to staff the Date with Nature site on a daily basis this season.
Watch this space - as the situation changes, we'll let everyone know here and on Facebook.
Due to difficulties getting around the reserve this week due to the snow, sightings have been limited. However there were several notable sightings as detailed below:
Osprey: Highlight of the week (although I missed it!) seen on the 29th March. At least one, possibly two individuals.
Kingfisher: Seen briefly along the river below the dam on the 1st April.
Goshawk: Viewed and heard briefly on 4th April.
Raven: Present and displaying above the dam and RSPB shop. Also good views from the lakeside and centenary hides.
Buzzard: Regular sightings throughout the week, including 3 individuals displaying along the blue trail on 5th April.
Dipper: One sighted swimming on the river below the dam on 5th April.
Lesser Redpoll: One seen on the feeders this morning.
Great Spotted Woodpecker: Increasing numbers with several drumming on trees around the shop.
Little Grebe: Great view right in front of the lakeside hide yesterday.
Tree Pipit: Spotted on the blue trail earlier today. The migrants are beginning to arrive!
In addition, there are good numbers of the usual finches and tit species on the feeders outside the shop and the Coed Y Capel hide. On the lake, there are now at least five Great Crested Grebes and two pairs of Goosander. With the weather starting to improve slowly and a forecast of southerly winds over the weekend, hopefully more of the summer migrants are not too far away.