RSPB
Skip navigation
Award
Print page

Recent sightings

  • 29 August 2014

    Lake Vyrnwy Recent Sightings 24th-29th August 2014

    Hi,

    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).

    Cheers,

    Adam

    Posted by Adam J

  • 23 August 2014

    Lake Vyrnwy Recent Sightings 10th-23rd August 2014

    Hi,

    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.

    Macrolepidoptera Of The Week

    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). 

    Cheers,

    Adam

    Posted by Adam J

  • 11 August 2014

    Lake Vyrnwy Recent Sightings 3rd-9th August 2014

    Hi,

    Highlight of the week was a superb Clouded Yellow butterfly seen flying around Llanwddyn (3rd), this migrant species arrives into the UK from southern Europe in variable numbers every year and is not a common sight in Montgomeryshire. In fact the whole week turned out to be rather good for butterflies with Purple Hairstreak spotted in the Hotel Wood and the weekly transect producing 57x Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Small Skipper, Comma, Green-Viened White, Large White, Small White, Small Copper and Meadow Brown butterflies.

    This superb Clouded Yellow butterfly was a good find in Llanwddyn during the week (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the photo)

    Red Admiral butterfly was recorded in small numbers during the weekly butterfly transect.

    Earlier in the week we unveiled the following mystery photo on the RSPB Mid Wales Facebook Page.

    Well done to everyone who identified the mystery creature as a male Emerald Damselfly. This colourful damselfly is relatively frequent along waterbodies on the reserve at present. Other odonata sighted on the reserve this week included, Azure Damselfly, Black Darter, Common Hawker and Brown Hawker.

    Emerald Damselfly can be found frequently along the reserves waterbodies at present.

    High levels of bat activity were observed at dusk along the Afon Vyrnwy, with the bridge near the Sculpture Park (OS Grid: SJ020190)  being a particular good spot to watch feeding Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bat as well as listen to a family of Tawny Owls. The Afon Vyrnwy also played host to Kingfisher (daily), Dipper (daily) and Grey Wagtail (daily).

    Sightings on the lake included, 28x Canada Geese, 47x Mallard, 2x Teal, 9x Goosander, 1x Little Grebe, 3x Great Crested Grebe, 4x Cormorant, 5x Grey Heron and 2+ Common Sandpiper.

    We've been treated to some beautiful sunsets on the reserve recently.

    Other interesting avian sightings included, 1x Red Kite (regular over Llanwddyn), 1x Hobby (over Llanwddyn, 4th), 1x Goshawk (Red Trail, 4th) and Crossbill (regular, Visitor Centre, Orange, Red and Green Trails).

    Macrolepidoptera Of The Week

    Blue-bordered Carpet is top moth this week. Uncommon in Montgomeryshire this species inhabits damp woodland.

    Blue-bordered Carpet (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the image).

    Cheers,

    Adam

    Posted by Adam J

  • 3 August 2014

    Lake Vyrnwy Recent Sightings 27th July- 2nd August 2014

    Hi,

    As we enter the month of August the majority of woodland birds have finished nesting and small passerines have started to form mixed feeding flocks. Catching up with a mixed flock along a hedgerow or in a woodland can be particularly rewarding with resident birds such as Goldcrest, Blue Tit and Treecreeper hanging out with summer migrants like Redstart, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. Another mixed flock which has been providing enjoyable viewing at present involves Swifts and hirundines (Swallow and House Martin) which hawk low over the dam at dawn and dusk.

    Great Tit is another species which joins mixed flocks at this time of year (Many Thanks to Sam Constable for the photo)

    This week the lake played host to 28x Canada Geese, 47x Mallard, 2x Teal, 11x Goosander, 1x Little Grebe (1st), 3x Great Crested Grebe, 2x Cormorant, 5x Grey Heron and 2+ Common Sandpiper.

    Autumn wader passage is steadily gaining momentum across the UK. Lake Vyrnwy is unlikely to get the numbers and great diversity of waders that would be expected at a coastal site however, the exposed mud at the top end of the lake, viewable from the Lakeside Hide, is certainly worth a scan, especially after overnight rain. Waders such as Green Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover have been sighted in the past. Oystercatcher kicked off autumn wader passage at Vyrnwy when one was heard calling near the dam at dusk last week.

    Earlier in the week we unveiled the following mystery photo on the RSPB Mid Wales Facebook Page.

    Well done to everyone who correctly identified the creature as a Peacock Butterfly. It is believed that the bright blue eye spots have evolved to protect the butterflies from attacking predators. The predators are either startled when the eye spots are exposed or attack the spot which they believe is the creature’s actual eye, resulting in a greater chance of escape and survival for the Peacock Butterfly which can flee with its real eyes intact.

    Peacock Butterfly was dominant in our weekly transect with 22 individuals counted

    This fresh Small Copper was a nice find during the weekly butterfly transect

    Other interesting sightings this week included, 1x Hedgehog (Llanwddyn War Memorial, 29th), 1x Goshawk (Red Trail, 31st), Hobby (flew over Llanwddyn, 2nd) 1x Great Black-backed Gull (flew over Red Trail, 28th), Kingfisher (Afon Vyrnwy, daily), Green Woodpecker (Llanwddyn fields, regular), 3x Sand Martin (flew along lake, 28th), Dipper (Afon Vyrnwy, daily), Wheatear (Dinas Mawddwy Road, daily) and Crossbill (Visitor Centre and Purple Trail, daily).

     This Hobby perched up briefly in Llanwddyn during the week (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the image)

    Macrolepidoptera Of The Week

    The bright red Ruby Tiger is top moth this week. The caterpillars of this species feed on the leaves of ragwort and plantains.

    Cheers,

    Adam

    Posted by Adam J

  • 26 July 2014

    Lake Vyrnwy Recent Sightings 20th-26th July 2014

    Hi,

    Top sighting this week was a flyover Yellow Wagtail from the Red Trail (23rd), this summer migrant usually inhabits lowland agricultural fields with the nearest known local population located towards Welshpool. Another highlight this week was an Osprey which flew down the lake (23rd). The lake also played host to 30x Canada Geese, 30+ Mallard, 3x Teal, 3x Great Crested Grebe, 1x Cormorant and 4x Grey Heron.

    Frequent Kingfisher sightings this week included birds seen from the Lakeside Hide, below the dam and along the Afon Vyrnwy (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for this image taken at Vyrnwy last year).

    Other interesting bird sightings this week included, Red Kite (regular along the Dinas Mawddwy road), Sparrowhawk (regular at the Visitor Centre), Green Woodpecker (1x juvenile, Green Trail, 1x Abertridwr), Dipper (regular, Afon Vyrnwy), Wheatear (Bala Road), Stonechat (Rhiwargor waterfall), Spotted Flycatcher (family parties, LLanwddyn and Dinas Mawddwy road) and Crossbill (Visitor Centre, Red and Green trails).

    Siskin are regulars at the bird feeders at present (Many Thanks to Sam Constable for the image).

    The distinctive blooms of Harebell can be seen along the Green Trail at present.

    Purple Hairstreak butterfly should be searched for in the oak woodland at present with at least four sighted along the Green Trail this week (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the image taken off site).

    The weekly butterfly transect highlighted a fresh emergence of Peacock's, with twenty individuals counted alongside a single Comma and small numbers of Ringlet, Large White, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown and Large Skipper.

    The blooms of Common Knapweed are providing a rich source of nectar for insects at present like this Skipper butterfly.

    Odonata on the wing this week included, Banded Demoiselle (first record this year), Emerald Damselfly, Black Darter, Common Hawker, Brown Hawker and Golden-ringed Dragonfly.

    Look how dark this male Black Darter is in comparison to last weeks female.

    Macrolepidoptera Of The Week

    This week’s top moth was also the focus of attention in the following mystery photo unveiled on the RSPB Mid Wales Facebook Page earlier in the week.

    I can now reveal that the giant moth in the photo is a Northern Eggar. Well done to everyone who guessed correctly. Eggar moths are an important part of the Vyrnwy food web with the hairy caterpillars being a favourite meal for Cuckoo and the flying adults a food source for acrobatic Hobby’s. Dayflying ginger male Eggar moths may be seen zigzagging across the higher level trails at present.

     Female Eggar moths were attracted to the light on our moth trap.

    Cheers,

    Adam

    Posted by Adam J

  • 24 July 2014

    Lake Vyrnwy Recent Sightings 13th-19th July 2014

    Hi,

    As temperatures soared on the reserve so did the number of flying invertebrates. Black Darter and Emerald Damselfly were recorded for the first time this year whilst Four-spotted Chaser, Common Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly, Brown Hawker and Golden-ringed Dragonfly could also be sighted along the reserve trails. A Holly Blue butterfly in the Eunant area was a good record. The weekly butterfly transect recorded Large White for the first occasion this year alongside good numbers of Ringlet and a small scattering of Large Skipper and Small Tortoiseshell.

    The stunning Emerald Damselfly was recorded for the first time this year.

    The Black Darter is a specialist of moorland habitats.

    There were some great birds on the lake this week including, 8x Common Scoter (17th), 3x Teal (Lakeside Hide, 19th) and 2x Mandarin Duck (Lakeside Hide, 19th). The pair of Great Crested Grebe decided to construct another floating nest at the top end of the lake, so we have our fingers crossed yet again for them. Other regular birds utilising the lake included, 1x Cormorant, 4x Grey Heron, 10+ Herring Gull and 20+ Lesser Black-backed Gull.

    Earlier in the week we unveiled the following mystery photo on the RSPB Mid Wales Facebook Page.

    I can now reveal that the creature lurking behind the vegetation was in fact a Grey Heron. Well done to everyone who answered correctly.

    Grey Herons have been showing incredibly well from the Centenary Hide.

    Other interesting bird sightings this week included, a good spread of Kingfisher records with two on the Afon Vyrnwy, one near Pont Cynon and one at the Centenary Hide. 1x Hobby flew over Llanwddyn (18th), Peregrine Falcon (family party regular along the Dinas Mawddwy road), Green Woodpecker (utilising fields near Abertridwr), Wood Warbler (1x at the Visitor Centre and 2x singing on the Purple Trail), Garden Warbler (family party at Centenary Hide,19th),1x Pied Flycatcher (Centenary Hide, 20th) and Crossbill (regular, Visitor Centre, Purple and Green Trails).

    Bramble patches were alive and loud with the sound of hundreds of buzzing insects.

    Macrolepidoptera Of The Week

    Peppered Moth is a species well known to anyone who has studied biology at some point in their lives. The reason for this is its connection to the study of natural selection. The Peppered Moth occurs in two colour morphs, one dark and one light, the story goes that during the industrial revolution pollution in towns, and cities left widespread coatings of soot. The dark morph moths benefited from this as they became well camouflaged and were better at hiding from predators in comparison to the light morph moths. The population of dark morph moths increased greatly in comparison to the light morph, as it was able to cope better with the selection pressure (predation).

     Light morph Peppered Moths enjoy the fresh air at Lake Vyrnwy.

    Cheers,

    Adam

    Posted by Adam J

  • 13 July 2014

    Lake Vyrnwy Recent Sightings 6th-12th July 2014

    Hi,

    The fine and relatively dry weather continued this week resulting in a further reduction in height of the lake’s water levels. Unfortunately this looks to have put an end to the Great Crested Grebe’s nesting attempt for the time being. On the flip side the Centenary Hide saw an increase in activity as 1x Kingfisher (12th), 4x Grey Heron, Mallard and Grey Wagtail took advantage of the small pools which have established in front of the hide. Other birds utilising the lake during the week included, 35x Canada Geese, 2x Goosander, 50x Mallard, Black-Headed Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

    The receding water has resulted in the formation of small pools in front of the Centenary Hide.

    The pools proved popular with a variety of birds including this Grey Wagtail.

    Earlier in the week we unveiled the following photo on the RSPB Mid Wales Facebook Page.

     We asked our followers which species of bird had a Goshawk eaten for its dinner. Well I can now reveal that the bright blue feathers in the photograph belong to a Jay. Well done to everyone who answered correctly. Jay’s can currently be seen on most of our trails with family groups being particularly vocal. Look out for the large white rump of a Jay as it flies across a track. We also had a few Goshawk sightings during the week with the Blue Trail accounting for most of them.

    Other interesting avian sightings this week included, 1x Sand Martin (headed north along the Penybontfawr road, 8th), Blackcap (singing in Sculpture Park, daily), family parties of Redstart (most trails, daily), Spotted Flycatcher (family party regular at the Sculpture Park) and Crossbill (small numbers frequent on the Blue, Red and Green Trails, including singing birds).

    Family parties of Redstart are currently common on most of the trails. You may even see a striking male like the one in this photograph (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the image).

    During the week we undertook our first Field Survey for the National Bat Monitoring Programme on a section of open heather moorland. As expected bat activity was low with a single Noctule and Daubenton’s bat recorded. However a reeling Grasshopper Warbler more than made up for the low levels of activity.

    Look out for the bright yellow flowers of Bog Asphodel whilst driving along the Bala and Dinas Mawddwy roads.

    Large numbers of Ringlet butterfly remained on the wing whilst a fresh emergence of Small Tortoiseshell was noticeable. Brown Hawker dragonfly was a new addition to the odonata year list. Golden-ringed dragonfly and Large Red damselfly were frequently observed on most of the trails.

    Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary has been a recent highlight whilst undertaking the weekly butterfly transect (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the image).

    Macrolepidoptera Of The Week

    Garden Tiger takes the accolade of top moth this week. The blotchy brown and cream pattern on the forewing is highly variable and unique to each individual moth just like fingerprints in humans.

    The Garden Tiger certainly has the wow factor.

    Cheers,

    Adam

    Posted by Adam J

  • 7 July 2014

    Lake Vyrnwy Recent Sightings 28th June-5th July 2014

    The fields glisten as the suns early morning rays strike the dew, the watery cloak only missing around the sheep highway. The wheezy coo of a Wood Pigeon travels from the forest edge meanwhile a Song Thrush tilts its head and focuses on a surfacing earthworm, striking and obtaining the first food parcel for it’s offspring of the day.

    Whilst wading through waist high bracken a flurry of Ringlet butterflies emerge into the air, a Golden-ringed dragonfly shoots through the fluttering mass in pursuit of midge. A breeze begins to accumulate as the suns heat intensifies, Common Buzzards rise from the tree tops flying effortlessly over the hillsides. Alarming Swallows give away the presence of a passing Hobby darting through the valley.

    As evening approaches, I find myself walking along a track, pipistrelle bats float up and down the forestry rides. Suddenly a badger emerges from the long grass, stopping and sniffing the air. The fragrance of hedgerow honeysuckle fills the air, however it is not the plant’s scent that unnerves the badger, it is that of another mammal, a potential predator, which proves too much and the badger runs off into the distance. Upon reaching the forest edge I am greeted by a golden sky as the sun begins to disappear behind the hills. A Nightjar awakens, its churring carried upon a slight breeze, the sound uninterrupted for minutes at a time. The churring stops and is replaced by a round of applause as the bird’s wings clap together in display flight. The bird approaches and lands on a nearby perch its song echoing amongst the surrounding trees.

     The fragrance of Honeysuckle fills the air at dusk.

    Hello, so there we are, a snapshot of what a fine July day can offer at Lake Vyrnwy. Moving onto the weeks stats and facts, the lake played host to 30x Canada Geese, 20+ Mallard, 2+ Goosander, 5x Great Crested Grebe, 3x Cormorant, 3x Grey Heron, up to five pair of Common Sandpiper and 17x Lesser Black-backed Gull. Peregrine Falcons were sighted from the Lakeside Hide on a daily basis.

    Large Red, Azure and Common Blue damselflies, Four-spotted Chaser and Golden-ringed Dragonfly remained on the wing alongside Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Large Skipper, and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterflies.

    Ringlet dominated this weeks butterfly transect with 132 individuals counted.

    Other interesting sightings included, Hummingbird Hawkmoth (near the Sculpture Park), 1x Hobby flew over Llanwddyn (5th), Swallow and Dipper chicks fledged around the dam, a family of Wheatear (Dinas Mawddwy Road) and Crossbill (daily, Red, Blue and Green Trails).

    You may come across a smelly Stinkhorn fungus whilst walking along our trails at present.

    Macrolepidoptera Of The Week

    This week’s top moth was also the mystery creature in the following photo posted on our RSPB Mid Wales Facebook Page earlier in the week.

    Well done to everyone who identified the creature as a moth, however if you managed to take your i.d. to the next level and named the creature as a Buff Arches, please give yourself a pat on the back now! The mystery photo zoomed into the distinctive white and orange-brown ‘arches’ which assist in the identification of this well-patterned and common UK moth.

    Finally, if you would like to join us in search of Nightjar click on the following link for more details: http://www.rspb.org.uk/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-342011

    Cheers,

    Adam

    Posted by Adam J

  • 29 June 2014

    Lake Vyrnwy Recent Sightings 21st-27th June 2014

    Hi,

    Another week of mostly fine weather resulted in good butterfly and dragonfly numbers which included a new addition to the reserve list in the form of Keeled Skimmer. Common Hawker, Broad-bodied Chaser and Banded Demoiselle were recorded for the first time this year. A fresh emergence of Red Admiral butterflies was noticeable whilst good numbers of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Small Heath remained on the wing.

    This late pair of Green Hairstreaks were busy creating the next generation during the week (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the image).

    With an orange head, black body and white tail the distinctive Tree Bumblebee is a recent colonist of the UK and Lake Vyrnwy.

    The pair of nesting Great Crested Grebes at the top end of the lake has unfortunately failed, with a drop in water levels most likely a contributing factor. We have our fingers crossed again however as the persistent duo were already nest building towards the end of the week. The lake also played host to 2x Oystercatcher (23rd), 3x Grey Heron, 30x Canada Geese (including one gosling), 20+ Mallard (including two duckling broods) and a family of Grey Wagtail in front of the Centenary Hide.

    A pair of Dipper are currently busy feeding chicks at the dam (Many Thanks to Gavin Chambers for the image).

    Other interesting avian sightings during the week included a Collard Dove at Abertridwr (27th), 6x Red Kite over Llanwddyn (23rd), 2x Peregrine Falcon (daily, Lakeside Hide), Cuckoo (singing on the Red Trail), Whinchat (family parties along the Dinas Mawddwy Road), Pied Flycatcher (male Centenary Hide, 27th), Bullfinch (family party, Sculpture Park) and Crossbill (daily, Sculpture Park, Red and Blue Trails).

    The Foxglove display was truly magnificent along the Bala Road.

    Macrolepidoptera Of The Week

    The metallic Forester Adscita statices flies by day where it can be seen feeding on the nectar of plants like wild thyme.

    Finally, earlier in the week we unveiled this mystery photo on our RSPB Mid Wales Facebook Page.

    Well done to everyone who identified the mystery creature as Round-leaved Sundew. This species has benefited from upland ditch blocking undertaken during the Life Active Bog Project. Acidic habitats hold a low level of nutrients for plants therefore the Sundew produces a sticky "dew" to trap insects which it then absorbs nutrients from. One lucky Sundew managed to capture a Small Heath butterfly on the reserve this week.

    Cheers,

    Adam

    Posted by Adam J

Your sightings

Grid reference: SJ0119 (+2km)

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 52.76139,-3.45969
  • Grid reference: SJ016192
  • Nearest town: Welshpool, Powys
  • County: Powys
  • Country: Wales

Get directions

Living classrooms