It has been a long time since I published a post on the blog. Internet connection issues and a nice holiday kept me away from it but now I am back and it is great. The conservation team has been busy mainly doing practical work, maintaining the estate but that is not all. At the same time we got the chance to observe a great variety of wildlife. Birds are mostly finished with their job of raising young: most of the chicks have fledged and can feed themselves independently. Invertebrate life on the other hand is very much abundant. This is very much the time of emergence for aquatic invertebrates.
It is a great time to see a great diversity of Dragonflies and Damselflies around the reserve at the moment. It is easy to differentiate Damselflies to Dragonflies: the former rest on the vegetation with their wings along their body whereas the latter rest with their wings perpendicular to their body.
Large Red Damselflies and the rarer Small Red Damselflies can be seen on a walk along the boardwalk across Covert Coch. You could also be lucky and see an Emerald Damselfly exhibiting its wonderful metallic green abdomen.
Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum)
Dragonflies are much bigger and thus can be more easily spotted. It is also a good time to see the Southern, Brown or Common Hawkers. Common Darters, Black-tailed Skimmers, Broad Bodied Chasers and Four-spotted chasers are the other Dragonfly species you may see nearby the many water bodies of the reserve.
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)
Female Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)
Still in the insect world but in another Order, we have been moth trapping on the Foel part of the reserve with local and knowledgeable moth enthusiasts Ina and Tony. If you’d like to join them and discover more about moths at Ynys-hir, they will be at the visitor centre this Sunday (23rd August) from 9 till 11 am. Here is an idea of the beautiful creatures you may see at this event. The diversity at this time of the year is incredible. It is the right time to appreciate how colourful and delicate moths are.
Yellow-tail (Euproctis similis)
Black arches (Lymantria monacha)
Purple Thorn (Selenia tetralunaria)
The biodiversity at Ynys-hir is stunning. It has been an incredible experience to witness the beauty of this site for six months as an RSPB intern. It is now however, time to leave for Lake Vyrnwy RSPB nature reserve for another six months of internship. This is thus a goodbye.
Last week, the Conservation team completed varied tasks.
- The third round of nest box surveying has started. Pied-Flycatcher chicks now have long feathers as you can see on the photo below. A bit more patience and soon we will know the overall numbers of nesting birds in the nest boxes for this season, in terms of species and productivity.
Pied Flycatcher chicks (Ficedula hypoleuca)
- Due to poor weather conditions, the weekly butterfly transect did not gather an incredible diversity of species. However, it is worth noting that the brown butterflies have not hatched yet and we are seeing the end of the first brood of many butterflies. Low diversity at this time of the year is thus natural. Despite this fact, we managed to observe some Common Blues, Brimstones, Peacocks, Speckled Woods and a Large White.
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
- The Interns and Volunteers also had a try at the Cobweb app in the Saltmarsh. In the context of the Dyfi Biosphere Reserve, an app has been recently put in place to allow citizens to carry out surveys. This app is still work in progress and we were asked to try it and give some feedback. This survey is important to see how fast the pastures are reverting back to saltmarsh. Indeed, Marian Mawr field used to be protected from the tide by sea walls and the sward was characteristic of a wet grassland. To allow this habitat to revert back to its natural state, the sea wall was destroyed. Now the vegetation is becoming slowly more and more typical of saltmarsh.
- Other sightings for this week included the following:
The English Stonecrop (Sedum anglicum) is blooming
This last week the volunteers mainly worked on the estate maintenance. We however managed to spot some great wild life :
Wet grassland – Penrhyn Gerwen
Yellow-rattle is flowering. Some fields are displaying yellow flashes. The Yellow-rattle is an indicator of unimproved grassland. As it is semi-parasitic onto grasses, it promotes broader-leaved grasses diversity.
Yellow-rattle (Rhinanthus minor)
The raised bog - Covert Coch-
Bog Rosemary flowers are just starting to bloom in the bog. This typical plant of bogs is closely related to Heathers. Raised bogs are a priority habitat under the EU Habitats Directive as they are now very rare. They act as carbon carbon stores and thus play a capital role in reducing green house effect.
Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifolia)
The Bird Life
Chicks are definitely growing bigger. Juvenile birds have been seen in trees and bushes. Blue and Great tits were observed. This new week the volunteers will start the third round of nest box survey. Many of the Blue and Great Tits will have fledged by now. The Oystercatcher however is still on the nest in Domen Las. The Redshanks are seen alarm calling their young in Lodge Farm.
Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)