Adam has now migrated to RSPB Ynys-hir, along with fellow intern Tom, to start their second half of the internship. A huge thanks goes to both of them for their hard work throughout the last 6 months. With regards this blog, thanks has to go to Adam for his fantastically informative weekly posts which is going to be hard to continue to such a standard! Both interns got stuck right in to reserve work from monitoring on the moors to leading walks. They also came up with their own projects, Adam set up bat surveys and a fruitful butterfly transect but he wasn’t up for giving one of the horses a lift off the hill!
Adam and friend
Tom created a scale model Solar System trail. The Solar System trail was completed at the end of August and can be viewed along the Green Trail as you walk along the path to the waterfall at the top end of the lake. With each planet there is a brief description along with a few interesting facts, including how far away the nearest star would be at the scale used.
Solar System trail
As Adam mentioned in his final post, he managed to see 105 species of bird on the reserve during his 6 months here. There has been a friendly rivalry between Adam and myself, and having arrived a month later I have been struggling to catch up with Adam. However, today (14th) I found my 105th species…… a MOORHEN (a rare bird at Lake Vyrnwy!). With 2 weeks of my stay remaining will I manage to beat Adam???
Another local rarity was found off the dam on the 4th, an immature Shelduck which only stayed the one day (I was on holiday so missed it!). In the past week the lake has had: 5 Little Grebe, 5 Tufted Duck, 10 Teal, a Great Crested Grebe and 240 Lesser Black-backed Gulls came in to roost on the 7th between 7-8pm. Kingfishers continue to be seen around the lake including below the dam, along Green Trail and bottom of Dinas Mawydd road. 2 Dippers were seen below the dam on the 12th and Chiffchaffs have started to sing again, heard at several locations around the reserve. The butterfly transect was done this week but, despite the glorious weather, only 5 butterflies were recorded. A few dragonflies were still about with Black Darters and a couple of Brown Hawkers being the more obvious ones.
Brown Hawker ovipositing in small pond
While working around the reserve there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of Fungi about. Autumn is a great time of year to get out and about to see the amazing colours and shapes of Fungi, though remember some are poisoness and can be deadly!! One interesting looking Fungi is this Coral Fungi which was found along the butterfly transect and is only a couple of centimetres high. If anyone happens to know what species of Fungi this is it would be great to hear from you (comment here, facebook, twitter or email).
Coral Fungi - But which one?
Macrolepidoptera of the Week
The recent cold nights have put us off trying to use the moth trap. However it was put out on the 13th due to a slightly milder forecast and produced a few interesting moths including Pink-barred Sallow and Green-brindled Crescent. But, for me anyway, Macro-Lepidoptera of the Week goes to the Black Rustic. Yes I know its black, but I am always amazed by just how black it is. With its charcoal sheen and flecks of gold poking through I think this is an incredible looking moth and proves they don’t need vibrant colours to stand out.
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).