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Recent sightings

  • 15 October 2014

    Pool with a view


    If you have dropped into the reserve recently you may have spotted the conservation team working around the water bodies in front of the Saltings and Marian Mawr hides. The team have been busy cutting the vegetation around the pool edges in order to open up the vista for feeding wetland birds and of course you the visitors.

    Fellow intern Tom focussed on strimming the wetland edge near the Saltings hide

     The vegetation has been raked into small piles to try and reduce the spread of nutrients back into the soil, the piles will also provide a home for lots of invertebrates and potentially grass snake.

    Volunteers Rebeka, Declan and Georgina created habitat piles which will hopefully prove popular with grass snake.

    The pools have attracted a great variety of wildlife lately including, Great White Egret, Teal, Water Rail, Green Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, Snipe, Kingfisher and Fox.  We’re hoping our efforts will help continue the good run.



    Posted by Adam J

  • 13 October 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 4th-10th October 2014


    A combination of sporadic heavy showers, strong gusts and the month’s highest tides always had the potential to spice things up on the reserve. They certainly did when 3x juvenile Arctic Terns were spotted from the Breakwater Hide (6th). The reserve also played host to some late passage birds around the Breakwater Hide which took the form of 1x Whinchat, 2x Wheatear and 5x Chiffchaff (8th).

    The Breakwater field wetted up nicely following the heavy rain creating excellent conditions for large numbers of foraging and roosting wetland birds with 200+ Wigeon (9th), 47x Pintail (9th), 7x Shoveler (9th), 18x Shelduck (10th), 4x Bar-tailed Godwit (10th), 6x Black-tailed Godwit (10th) and 555x Curlew (10th) to name a few.

    A Common Lizard was spotted basking on a small grass heap next to the Wetland Trail Boardwalk (Many Thanks to Liam Olds who took this photo on the reserve earlier in the year).

    Highlights from the monthly WeBS count undertaken on the 10th October included, 342x Barnacle Geese (Saltmarsh), 276x Mallard, 745x Teal, 4x Red-Breasted Merganser (Saltings Hide), 6x Grey Heron, 12x Little Egret, 84x Lapwing, 1x Ringed Plover (Marian Mawr Hide), 4x Dunlin (Ynys Feurig Hide), 1x Little Stint (Ynys Feurig Hide), 7x Redshank (Ynys Feurig Hide), 1x Common Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide), 208x Oystercatcher and 2x Snipe (Wetland Trail Boardwalk).

    This Canada Goose sighted from the Saltings Hide during the week was ringed at Windermere in the Lakes District back in 2013.

    Other interesting sightings this week included, 1x Great Crested Grebe (Breakwater Hide, 9th), 1x Peregrine Falcon (Saltmarsh, regular), 1x Merlin (Penrhyngerwin, 8th), Kestrel (Visitor Centre and Wetland Trail, daily), 4x Grey Plover (Breakwater Hide, 8th), 2x Green Sandpiper (Saltings Hide, 6th), 1x 1st winter Mediterranean Gull (Breakwater Hide, 7th), Rock Pipit (Saltings, daily) and 1x Blackcap (Visitor Centre Pools, 8th).

    The Robin’s delightful song can currently be heard from most of the treed areas on the reserve (Many Thanks to Liam Olds for the photo).



    Posted by Adam J

  • 4 October 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 27th September- 3rd October 2014


    Flowering ivy and the plethora of insects it attracted was a real highlight on the reserve for me this week. One particular ivy covered tree next to the picnic benches in the carpark was a hive of activity with a quick glance on the 3rd October producing 9x Red Admiral, 2x Comma butterflies as well as a plentiful supply of wasps and other flies.

     Flowering Ivy was a big hit with the reserve's insects this week.

    Last weeks star bird, the Great White Egret, remained on the saltmarsh, showing intermittently throughout the week. This week’s bird highlight was probably a ringtail Hen Harrier, possibly our first wintering bird of the season, observed quartering over the grassland in front of the Ynys Feurig Hide and then the saltmarsh (2nd).

     The Great White Egret lengthened its stay on the reserve for another week (Many Thanks to Rhys Thatcher for the photograph).

    Woodland birds took advantage of ripened seeds dropping from the trees with a flock of Chaffinch regularly seen  feeding on beech mast along the entrance road and Jays collecting acorns from the many oak trees on the reserve. There seems to be a good number of Jays around at present with flocks of 10+ birds seen most days however, a large party of 54, which flew over the Visitor Centre on the 30th, has to be close to a reserve record.

    Other interesting sightings this week included, 41x Greylag Geese (Breakwater Hide, 27th), 3x Red Kite (Wetland Trail, regular), Peregrine Falcon (female, Breakwater Hide, 27th), 1x Water Rail (Marian Mawr Hide, 27th), 2x Green Sandpiper (Marian Mawr Hide, 28th), Chiffchaff (still present in mixed flocks) and 1x Fox (Marian Mawr Hide, 28th).

     The late blooms of Red Campion can still be seen on the woodland trails.

    Finally, two Brent Geese, including a bird that is possibly of the North American race, have recently been reported on the estuary near Ynyslas. There is a chance that they may hang out with the many geese on the reserve, so careful scanning of goose flocks on the saltmarsh may reward you with a sighting of Brent Geese, scarce visitors to this part of the world.



    Posted by Adam J

  • 27 September 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 20th-26th September 2014


    A Great White Egret first seen from the Domen Las Hide on the 21st takes the accolade of top sighting this week. The bird roamed widely across the reserve however seemed to favour the saltmarsh for foraging. With any luck the egret may prolong its stay into next week where visitors should look out for a bird similar in size to a Grey Heron.

    The Saltmarsh Trail was particularly productive with 70+ Pintail (Domen Las Hide, 22nd), 400+ Wigeon (Domen Las Hide, 22nd), 2x Green Sandpiper (Marion Mawr Hide, 21st), 1x Whimbrel (Domen Las Hide, 22nd), 33x Lapwing (Saltings Hide, 25th), 1x Snipe (Saltings Hide, 24th) and 2x Kingfisher (Marion Mawr Hide, regular).

    This Snipe was busy feeding in front of the Saltings Hide during the week.

    The Barnacle Geese proved very photogenic from the Domen Las Hide.

    Visitors to the reserve may have spotted Russell out in a tractor topping the wet grassland. Vegetation cutting is an essential part of preparing the land for next year’s wader breeding season, with species such as Lapwing preferring to nest in short swards of grass. Anyone who was in the Ynys Feurig Hide at the time of topping may have sighted four Red Kites circling above the Breakwater field or the Great White Egret who dropped in for a few minutes on the 25th.

    Russell enjoyed good views of the Great White Egret whilst topping the wet grassland.

    Butterfly numbers were lower than of late however the following species were still on the wing, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Small Copper. Odonata sightings included, Common Darter, Black Darter and Southern Hawker.

    Black Darters can still be seen sunning themselves on the Wetland Trail Boardwalk (Many Thanks to Chris Goding for the photo).

    Other interesting sightings this week included, 1x Pink-footed Goose (Breakwater Hide, 26th), 30+ Shelduck (Breakwater Hide, 26th), 8x Shoveler (Ynys Eidiol Screen, 25th), 1x Marsh Harrier (Saltmarsh, occasional), 2x Knot (Breakwater Hide, 25th), 1x Little Stint (Breakwater Hide, 25th), 15x Snipe (Ynys Feurig Hide, 24th), Spotted Flycatcher (25th) and 5+ Lesser Redpoll (Wetland Trail, daily).

    Covert Coch looked stunning in the autumnal sunshine.



    Posted by Adam J

  • 19 September 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 13th-19th September 2014


    The run of fantastic weather continued for yet another week, however winter wildfowl continued to filter onto the reserve with Wigeon peaking at 249 (Domen Las Hide, 14th) and Pintail 22 (Domen Las Hide, 17th). Teal are now frequent on most of the reserve’s water bodies including birds utilising the pools along the Wetland Trail Boardwalk. As we welcomed the winter visitors it was also a week for making the most of the last of our summer visitors, I did this from the Domen Las Hide where I watched a flock of Swallow and House Martin skilfully skimming low over the water. Another summer visitor the Chiffchaff could be heard emitting small bursts of song from scrub across the reserve.

     Pintail numbers continued to build throughout the week. Many Thanks to Laurie Wright for this photograph of a male Pintail in partial eclipse.

    Waders on the reserve included, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover (Domen Las Hide, daily), 4x Lapwing (Ynys Feurig Hide, 15th), Dunlin, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit,  3x Green Sandpiper (2x Domen Las Hide, 17th and 1x Marion Mawr Hide, regular), 1x Common Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, daily), Redshank, 1x Greenshank (Domen Las Hide, 15th) and 5x Snipe (Ynys Feurig Hide, 19th).

     This Greenshank was sighted from the Domen Las Hide during the week. Many Thanks to Laurie Wright for the photograph.

    Raptors were still proactive with a female Sparrowhawk causing a bit of panic amongst the wetland birds in front of the Domen Las Hide (17th), 1x Marsh Harrier (Saltmarsh, daily), 2x Red Kite (Wetland Trail, 15th and 1x over the Visitor Centre, 19th), 1x Kestrel (Ynys Feurig Hide, daily) and  1x Peregrine Falcon (over Visitor Centre, 16th).

    Odonata and butterflies continued to be active in good numbers with the Wetland Trail Boardwalk dominating proceedings yet again with, Small Red Damselfly, Emerald Damselfly, Common Darter, Black Darter, Southern Hawker, Small Copper, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral just a few select species sighted in this area.

    Other interesting sightings this week included, Kingfisher (2x Domen Las Hide, 1x Marion Mawr Hide and 1x Visitor Centre Pools, regular), Water Rail (heard calling from the Wetland Trail Boardwalk, 17th), 2x Grey Wagtail (Visitor Centre Pools, regular), 350+ Pied Wagtail (Domen Las Hide, 19th) and 2x Wheatear (Saltings Hide, 19th).

     Over 300 Barnacle Geese continued to feed on the saltmarsh. Many Thanks to Laurie Wright for the photograph.



    Posted by Adam J

  • 12 September 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 6th-12th September 2014


    Highlight of the week had to be the high tides and the thousands of birds which followed the sea water towards the Breakwater, Saltings and Domen Las Hides. The big high tides also coincide with the monthly WeBS Counts on the reserve, in which every individual wetland bird is recorded, providing important data which can be used to measure population trends and also assist with management on the reserve.  A good number of birds were recorded during the survey undertaken on the 12th including, 871x Canada Geese, 30x Shelduck, 8x Pintail, 154x Teal, 124x Mallard, 55x Wigeon, 24x Little Egret, 5x Little Grebe, 102x Oystercatcher,  153x Curlew, 1x Green Sandpiper (Marion Mawr Hide), 20x Black-tailed Godwit (Breakwater Hide), 1x Bar-tailed Godwit, 3x Grey Plover (Domen Las Hide) and 73x Dunlin.

    With lots of avian prey around it was perhaps not too surprising that there was also a lot of raptor activity on the saltmarsh this week including, 1x Red Kite (Ynys Feurig Hide, daily), 1x Marsh Harrier (juv, daily), 1x Sparrowhawk (Ynys Feurig Hide, 10th), 1x Kestrel (Ynys Feurig Hide, daily), 2x Peregrine (daily) and 1x Merlin (Domen Las Hide, 11th).

     Peregrine Falcon were very active on the saltmarsh during the week, this bird was seen from the Saltings Hide.

    Odonata and butterfly activity remained high as the excellent weather continued.  The Wetland Trail Boardwalk was a particular hotspot where species such as Small Red Damselfly, Common Darter, Black Darter, Southern Hawker, Small Copper, Red Admiral and Peacock butterfly could be seen at close quarters.

     This Small Copper was taking advantage of the early morning sunshine near the Ynys Feurig Hide.

     Purple Loosestrife is still blooming out in the wetlands providing a valuable source of nectar for insects at this time of year.

    Other interesting sightings this week included, 310x Barnacle Geese (Saltmarsh, regular), 29x Pintail (Breakwater Hide, 11th), 1x Water Rail (Ynys Eidiol Screen, 6th), Kingfisher (Visitor Centre Pools, Domen Las Hide, daily), Little Grebe (Ynys Eidiol Screen, 6th), 2x Knot (Saltings Hide, 10th), 6x Snipe (Saltings Hide, 10th), 1x Spotted Flycatcher (Woodland Trail), 1x Sedge Warbler (Ynys Eidiol Screen, 6th) and Hares (some rather showy individuals regular along the Wetland Trail).

     The Kingfisher continued to show extremely well from the Domen Las Hide during the week.



    Posted by Adam J

  • 6 September 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 1st-5th September 2014


    As this is my first blog for Ynys-hir I thought it would probably be best to begin by introducing myself.  My name is Adam and I’m one of two conservation interns who have recently migrated down from the uplands of RSPB Lake Vyrnwy.  Over the next six months I’m hoping to write regular blogs to keep you up to date with activity on the reserve.

    Look out for Gipsywort whilst strolling around the reserve. The small white flowers of this wetland species are a popular nectar source for bees at the moment.

    With high pressure dominating throughout the week, we welcomed back warm sunshine and so did the reptiles and invertebrates with lots of Common Lizard’s basking on trail edges and good numbers of odonata and butterfly on the wing. Odonata observed around the fresh water bodies included, Emerald, Small Red and Blue-tailed damselflies, Common Darter, Black Darter, Southern Hawker and Brown Hawker. The most frequent butterfly species on the reserve was Speckled Wood which shared the air space with smaller numbers of Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Green-Veined White, Large White, Brimstone and Wall butterflies.

    Small Red Damselfly is a localised species in Wales. Key identity features include, an entirely red abdomen (in males), reddish legs and pterostigma (dots on wings), these can all be seen in the photograph above which was taken from the Wetland Trail Boardwalk during the week.

    Autumn bird migration was in full swing, although the chances of more unusual species turning up were much reduced given the fantastic weather.  Careful scanning of fencelines and berry laden shrubs produced a nice selection of passerines including, Grey Wagtail, Whinchat (c. 6 birds throughout week including one from the Marian Mawr Hide, 5th), 2x Blackcap (Woodland Trail), Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, 2nd) and Spotted Flycatcher (Woodland Trail, 3rd).

    Two Common Sandpiper were regulars from the Domen Las Hide.

    The arrival of our first winter visitors was also notable with Barnacle Geese (feral flock built up to 110 birds, 5th), Pintail (6x on the 3rd), 2x Shoveler (Visitor Centre Pools, 3rd) and 4x Wigeon (Saltings Hide, 5th).

    Other interesting avian sightings this week included, 2x Goosander (Domen Las Hide, daily), 12x Little Egret (Marian Mawr Hide, 5th), 1x Marsh Harrier (juvenile, Breakwater Hide, 2nd), 1x Peregrine Falcon (Covert Du Hide, regular), Water Rail (Ynys Eidiol Screen, 3rd),  1x Little Ringed Plover (Ynys Feurig Hide, 1st), 1x Green Sandpiper (Marian Mawr Hide, occasional), 1x Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (heard calling, Wetland Trail Boardwalk, 5th), 1x Common Redstart (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, 5th) and Willow Tit (heard calling in a mixed flock, Ynys Eidiol Screen, 3rd).

    This little fella showed extremely well at high tide from the Domen Las Hide on the 5th. Kingfishers were also sighted from the Ynys Eidiol Screen and Breakwater Hide during the week.

    Finally, just a quick heads up that we have some big high tides next week so a trip down to either the Breakwater or Saltings Hide, around high tide could be rewarding with goodies such as Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper a possibility at this time of year.



    Posted by Adam J

  • 5 June 2014

    Sunny at Ynys-hir

    Really busy day with lots of fledged birds about. I did a survey this morning and saw pied flycatchers and a newly fledged family of redstarts. Around Caer Berllan lake there were reed, sedge and grasshopper warblers and a lesser-spotted woodpecker was calling from the trees. The lake was quite, but I did find a gadwall in with the mallards, an unusual bird in west Wales.

    Posted by David Anning

  • 21 January 2014

    Lesser-spotted woodpeckers

    It must be the warm winter weather that has resulted in the early start of one of the most frustrating events in the birdwatching calandar- looking for lesser-spotted woodpeckers. Ynys-hir is a particularly good spot for them, but they annually cause frustration, annoyance and stiff necks to many of our visitors. Firstly one has to find the right place to stand, that's easy at Ynys-hir as we helpfully tell you where to go to give you the best chance of seeing one! Then one needs the right weather, ideally a bright sunny morning in late winter or early spring. After that it is down to luck! If you are fortunate the fluty chatter of woodland birds is broken by a harsh pe-pe-pe-pe call, then creeping along the branches high in the canopy you may see the tiny lesser-spot. Sometimes if you are very fortunately they may come out into the open and even chase each other round. However, often, as what has happen this week, one hears a short snatch of song followed by....nothing!

    Posted by David Anning

Your sightings

Grid reference: SN6896 (+2km)

Great White Egret (1)
9 Oct 2014

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Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 52.54672,-3.94516
  • Postcode: SY20 8TA
  • Grid reference: SN682961
  • Nearest town: Machynlleth, Powys
  • County: Ceredigion
  • Country: Wales

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