The volunteeers and I were busy removing young conifers from the woods today, in one area they were beginning to shade out the understorey so we caught them just in time. We were surprised not to see any woodcocks today as we spent hours wondering around the undergrowth in the type of habitat they usually like. The highlight of the day must have been when two of our volunteers saw a salmon jumping up the weir, it was well over two foot long. In this part of the wood the hazels, honeysuckle and brambles are particularly thick, a really wild, undesturbed part of the reserve, wonderful.
A trail check today, which was nice as the threatened rain didn't come and the woods were sheltered from the cold wind. Going around the reserve I saw bullfinches, lesser redpolls, long-tailed tits and a couple of buzzards. Despite searching I could see no wild goats, although I did come across one pile of droppings.
Near the reservoir the contractors have been busy felling invading conifers, the wood looks far more open now and from the top path, one can see the whole of Barmouth Bridge and the clock tower; its been many years since these were visiable from the view point.
Later at Coedydd Abergwynant I was checking the boundary when I flushed a woodcock, there seems to be far fewer around this year than there normally is. By the time I was heading back the light was fading which was a shame as I was really enjoying being about on the reserve.
Anyone who knows the Mawddach Valley well, is well accustomed to its wet weather. Although this is a burden that we all have to live with, it is also one of the things that makes the area special. In the deep ravines on our reserve, the constant flow of water and thick canopy of trees means that the air is always wet-ideal conditions for mosses and liverworts.
Hiden within the carpets of common species lurk some very rare and specialist species. These rarities make our reserve internationally important and a recent survey of Coedydd Abergwynant has highlighted how special the area is for these small green plants. Species such as Adelanthus decipiens or Radula voluta may not mean much to most naturalists, but to bryologists they are very exciting and show what a special place the Mawddach Valley is.