It's the time of year when everywhere around the reserve springs into life! Seasonal highlights include the migrant songbirds which have been wonderfully active, giving visitors great views. After their unexplained absence last year wood warblers have returned en masse, singing from all corners of the reserve, it’s a joy to have them back again.
The estate team are seeing their efforts rewarded after spending many winter hours clearing within the wood to allow for improved foraging opportunities for pied flycatcher and redstart. Volunteers have invested hours checking nest boxes which has revealed a good take-up of boxes by pied flycatcher, a site specialist, in addition to other usual box users like blue and great tit. Fledglings are making their first tentative visits to the visitor centre feeders, whereas wader chicks, goslings and ducklings have taken over the inland pools.
The lapwing breeding season started off early with the first pair seen on eggs before the end of March and chicks by third week of April! Good weather, and time invested in preventing predation and managing the lowland wet grassland appears to have paid off with productivity (fledged chicks per adult) at 1.2 on 2nd June. In order to maintain population numbers lapwings need to fledge at least 0.6 young per pair each year, so it’s good news so far! As it stands some birds appear to be taking advantage of the warmer weather and are re-laying, let’s hope the weather stays mild for the rest of June.
As the summer rolls on, time is running out to spot the rare hairy dragonfly (Brachytron pratense), as Ynys-hir is one of the few places to see them in the county. Come and learn about dragonflies and damselflies at our event on Sunday 19th June, or take out a pond dipping kit and see what lurks beneath the water’s surface.
As I write this up it is on a day when we have seen everything from hail, snow and now sunshine, truly a mixed bag of weather for the end of April. It is also an interesting time for the birds, we now have all the expected summer migrants here (including pied flycatchers, redstarts, wood warblers, willow warblers, chiff-chaff, black cap, grasshopper warblers etc) apart from spotted flycatchers, which are always a little later in arriving, nothing unusual there, however as of yesterday (Tuesday 26th April) we still also had 2 Greenland white fronted geese on the reserve too! The latest ever record for these birds. The volunteers and wardens have spent a lot of time and energy this winter working on the woodland habitats to improve them for pied flycatchers, redstarts and wood warblers, clearing some of the bramble and coppicing other areas, another benefit from this work can be experienced at the moment - that is the wonderful carpets of bluebells which are forming a blue haze on any of the woodland trails.
If you can, the next few weeks would be a great time to visit.
Just to let you know, our Visitor Center will be closed for 2 days, Tuesday November 3rd and Wednesday November 4th 2015.
Don't let that put you off a visit, the reserve will be open as usual - well worth a visit, stunning at the moment, and as already posted, waders showing well.