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Recent sightings

  • 24 January 2015

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 19th-24th January 2015


    In a week with large high tides fingers were crossed that a few goodies would turn up on the reserve. We weren’t left disappointed with 1x Bean Goose in amongst a flock of 25x Greenland White-fronted Geese (viewed from Poggles Bench, 24th), 2x Slavonian Grebe (Estuary, 22nd) and 1x Glaucous Gull (Breakwater and Domen Las Hide, 22nd), being great finds by visitors to the reserve.

     The view from Poggles Bench on one of this weeks large high tides.

    The January Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) was undertaken on the 23rd coinciding with a whopping 5.8m high tide. Highlights from the main reserve included, 21x Greenland White-fronted Geese, 124x Shelduck, 4x Gadwall, 122x Pintail, 24x Shoveler, 409x Wigeon, 266x Teal, 5x Goldeneye, 7x Red-Breasted Merganser, 8x Little Egret, 178x Oystercatcher, 2x Ringed Plover, 31x Dunlin, 117x Redshank, 1x Spotted Redshank, 16x Black-tailed Godwit and 313x Curlew.

    An excellent number of raptor species were reported during the week including, Red Kite (small numbers spread across reserve, daily), 1x Hen Harrier (female, Domen Las Hide, 22nd), 1x Goshawk (Breakwater Hide, 22nd), Peregrine Falcon (saltmarsh, regular) and 1x Merlin (Ynys Edwin, occasional).

    Other interesting sightings included, 2x Great Crested Grebe (Estuary, 24th) and 1x Woodcock (flew over Visitor Centre, 21st).

     This Kingfisher was photographed by Keith Roberts from the Domen Las Hide on the 19th.



    Posted by Adam J

  • 20 January 2015

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 12th-18th January 2015


    A calm frosty start to the 18th provided the perfect opportunity to head out onto the reserve and do a bit of wildlife watching. On arrival at the Visitor Centre a Water Rail skidded across the frozen pools below. A Woodcock rose up from a small woodland pool on the lower Green Trail. Further along four Mistle Thrush were feeding on the short turf around the Ynys Edwin Pool with one bird later singing high up in the trees. A single Red Kite perched up to take in some early morning rays near Ynys Edwin. The Breakwater field produced a Taverner’s Goose seen feeding alongside Canada Geese, the bird an escapee which has frequented the reserve for a few years. In total 63 bird species were recorded, not bad given that the stroll coincided with a low tide.

     Here is a record photo of the Taverner's Goose (left bird) alongside a Canada Goose (right bird) note the smaller size and darker plumage.

    The woodland trails and their leafless canopies can feel devoid of wildlife at this time year however with a bit of strategy a woodland ramble at Ynys-hir could prove very productive. Choose a calm sunny day and take your time, making regular stops in order to listen for sounds of life. That’s the exact strategy I employed on the Green Trail during the week where a stand of larch on the lower trail provided views of foraging Lesser Redpoll and Siskin, their presence given away via a steady flow of husks from the canopy. A seeping call allowed me to locate a small Redwing flock feeding on ivy berries around the Ynys-hir Hide. Whilst eyes to the tree canopy in search of movement provided views of numerous Great, Blue and Coal Tit with the occasional Goldcrest and Treecreeper thrown in for good measure.

     Keep a lookout for wing-tagged Red Kites like this one photographed by Keith Roberts.

    The Visitor Centre feeding station has been a hive of activity with Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Siskin all regulars. Talking of feeding the birds, are you aware that the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend is nearly upon us. Check out this link in order to find out more information on one of the UK’s biggest citizen science surveys.

    Other interesting sightings this week included, 5x Gadwall (Visitor Centre Pools, regular), c.160 Teal (Ynys Edwin Pool, daily), 6+ Goldeneye (Domen Las Hide, daily), 1x Great Northern Diver (Breakwater Hide, occasional), 2x Grey Plover (Breakwater Hide, 18th), 8x Bar-tailed Godwit (saltmarsh, 18th), 1x Common Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, daily) and 2x Stonechat (Covert Coch, daily).

     Great views of Redshank can be had from the Domen Las Hide at present (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).

    Finally, just a quick heads up that the Dovey Estuary will experience some high tides next week, peaking at 5.8m on Friday 23rd (10:14 AM). In terms of wildlife this will result in most of the saltmarsh becoming inundated with sea water pushing wintering birds up and over the railway line and onto the reserve’s wet grassland and pools. A seat in the Ynys Feurig and Saltings Hide should provide great viewing two hours before and after high tide.



    Posted by Adam J

  • 15 January 2015

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 5th-11th January 2015

    Hello and Happy New Year to you all!

    I’ll begin with an update on “JNA” a drake Teal with a lime green nasal saddle. The bird sighted on the Ynys Edwin pool back in December was ringed in 2012 on the Gironde estuary near Bordeaux, France. Over 160 Teal remain on the Ynys Edwin pool however there was no sign of JNA this week. Other species at Ynys Edwin included, 4x Mute Swan, 7x Shoveler, 1x Gadwall, 1x Little Egret, 1x Kestrel and 1x Stonechat.

    Triggered by the increase in day length a handful of bird species have started to train there vocal chords for the upcoming breeding season with Robin, Mistle Thrush, Wren, Great Tit and even a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker heard emitting a few notes during the week.

    Another sign that spring is around the corner are the early blooms of hazel. Hazel is monoecious meaning that both the male and female flowers are found on the same tree. Here you can see the small red female flower and the yellow male catkins.

    With large high tides throughout the week the Breakwater field proved productive with 4x Shelduck (Ynys Feurig Hide, regular), 159x Teal (Ynys Feurig Hide, 10th), 1350+ Lapwing (Ynys Feurig Hide, 11th), 83x Dunlin (Ynys Feurig Hide, 9th), 7+ Redshank (Ynys Feurig Hide, 9th), 1x Peregrine Falcon (Ynys Feurig Hide, 11th), 1x Kestrel (Ynys Feurig Hide, 11th) and 1x Sparrowhawk (Breakwater Hide, 11th) of note.

    A male Bullfinch has been showing incredibly well in front of the Domen Las Hide (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).

    Other interesting sightings included, 1x Pink-footed Goose (saltmarsh, regular), 12+ Greylag Geese (saltmarsh, regular), 11x Goldeneye (4 male 7 female, Domen Las Hide, 10th), 2x Goosander (Domen Las Hide, 10th), 3x Red-Breasted Merganser (Breakwater Hide, 10th), 2x Little Grebe (Marian Mawr Hide, daily), 1x Red Kite (saltmarsh, daily), 1x Hen Harrier (female, Covert Du Hide, 9th), 1x Common Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, daily), 1x Spotted Redshank (Breakwater Hide, 9th), 6x Black-tailed Godwit (Domen Las Hide, 11th), 4x Bar-tailed Godwit (saltmarsh, 11th), 10+ Long-tailed Tit (Domen Las Hide, 10th) and 1x Brambling (Visitor Centre feeders, 7th).

     Up to six Black-tailed Godwit have been feeding on the estuary viewable from the Domen Las Hide (Many Thanks to John Davis for the photo).



    Posted by Adam J

  • 22 December 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 14th-20th December 2014


    With thousands of wetland birds now wintering on the Dyfi estuary there is a true wildlife spectacle to be witnessed on a stroll around the reserve. A large number of birds utilise the Breakwater field for feeding and roosting where great viewing can be had from the Ynys Feurig Hide. Totals from this hide during the week included, 5+ Shelduck, 11+ Shoveler, 193x Wigeon (20th), 4x Pintail (18th), 5x Gadwall (17th), 383x Teal (20th), 400+ Lapwing, 18x Dunlin (18th) and the juvenile Chilean Flamingo which extended its stay for another week.

     A small number of Black-tailed Godwit are currently wintering on the estuary where they can be seen from both the Ynys Feuirg and Domen Las Hides (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).

    Careful scanning of over 150 Teal on the Ynys Edwin pool on the 20th didn’t lead to the rediscovery of the drake Green-winged Teal as hoped however I did find a drake Teal with a light green nasal saddle. The plastic saddle which fits around the bill was inscribed centrally with a ‘J’ and had the letters ‘NA’ hand written on both sides. Early research suggests that this bird has come from a French ringing scheme and of course I’ll keep you posted as and when the details are confirmed.

     The sight of hundreds of Oystercatcher feeding on the estuary provides another spectacle on the reserve (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).

    Other interesting sightings this week included, 15x Greylag Geese (saltmarsh, regular), 7x Shoveler (Ynys Edwin, 20th), 5x Goldeneye (Domen Las Hide, daily), 1x Little Grebe (Ynys Feurig Hide, 20th), 1x Kestrel (Ynys Edwin, daily), 4x Black-tailed Godwit (Domen Las Hide, daily), 1x Greenshank (Domen Las Hide, regular), 1x Green Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, daily), 1x Barn Owl (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, 19th), Redwing (small numbers spread across the reserve) and 3+ Siskin (Visitor Centre feeders, daily).

     Up to five Goldeneye can be seen regularly from the Domen Las Hide (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).

    Finally, in what will be my final sightings instalment for 2014 I’d like to wish everyone an enjoyable festive period.


    Posted by Adam J

  • 13 December 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 8th-13th December 2014


    After nearly a month’s absence, the return of 26 Greenland White-Fronted Geese to the reserve was a real highlight this week. The flock sighted on the saltings from Poggles bench (Wetland Trail, 13th) showed well in the winter sunshine. However, where they have been feeding over the past four weeks remains a mystery.

    The most unusual sighting of the week has to go to a Chilean Flamingo! The juvenile first seen from the Ynys Feurig Hide on the 12th looked slightly out of place in amongst the Lapwing and Teal. The bird, which has most likely escaped from a collection, must have found the reserve to its liking however as it was still present and feeding in front of the Ynys Feurig hide earlier today.

     A Chilean Flamingo brought a touch of the exotic to the Breakwater Field this week.

    Notable totals from the December WeBS Count undertaken on the 9th included, 13x Greylag Geese, 340x Barnacle Geese, 41x Shelduck, 1x Cape Shelduck, 105x Mallard, 5x Gadwall, 20x Pintail, 16x Shoveler, 398x Teal, 422x Wigeon, 9x Red-Breasted Merganser, 406x Lapwing, 139x Oystercatcher, 8x Bar-tailed Godwit, and 57x Dunlin.

     541 Canada Geese and 422 Wigeon were recorded on the reserve during this months WeBS Count (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).

    Other interesting sightings this week included, 1x Pink-footed Goose (daily, Marian Mawr field), 5x Goldeneye (Domen Las Hide, regular), 10x Red Kite (daily),  1x Green Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, regular), 1x Common Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, regular), 1x Greenshank (track down to Domen Las Hide, regular), 25+ Meadow Pipit (Ynys Edwin, 13th) and 2x Stonechat (Marian Mawr Hide, regular).

     Cormorants can be seen regularly from the Domen Las Hide where they are particularly good at catching flat fish (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).



    Posted by Adam J

  • 7 December 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 1st-7th December 2014


    Finally catching a glimpse of an Ynys-hir otter has to my personal highlight on the reserve this week. The otter, viewed from both the Domen Las and Marian Mawr Hides, was busy foraging on the estuary and successfully caught atleast one big flat fish whilst I was watching, excellent stuff!

    The Domen Las Hide proved to be a productive spot during the week with a single Bittern being particularly noteworthy on the 7th. The hide also produced sightings of a Hen Harrier (ringtail, 7th), Red Kite, 1x Peregrine Falcon, 150+ Barnacle Geese (keep a look out for colour ringed birds), 150+ Wigeon, 5x Goldeneye, 6+ Goosander, 5+ Little Grebe, Black-tailed Godwit, 2x Bar-tailed Godwit (7th), 1x Common Gull (7th) and 1x Kingfisher.

     The Domen Las Hide is providing excellent views of Goosander at present. (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).

    A couple of frosty days increased the level of foraging activity at the Visitor Centre feeders where superb views of Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and finches could be had.

     The early morning mist lifting from the raised bog.

    Other interesting sightings this week included, 9x Gadwall (Marian Mawr Hide, Ynys Feurig Hide and Visitor Centre Pools, regular), 245x Teal (Ynys Edwin Pool, daily), 1x Great Northern Diver (Saltings Hide, high tide, check around the white boat surrounded by green buoys), 1x Snipe (Covert Du Hide, in the newly cut area), 2x Stonechat (track to Domen Las Hide, regular), 1x Chiffchaff (near Ynys Feurig Hide) and c.40 Reed Bunting (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, regular).

     Gorse flower, with its coconut aroma, can be found throughout the year. The Gorse around the Ynys Feurig Hide is looking particularly good at the moment.



    Posted by Adam J

  • 30 November 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 16th-30th November 2014


    If I were to use one word to describe the last fortnight on the reserve it would be settled. The reserve’s wildlife cast remained relatively similar however with mild and calm conditions dominating it made for some pleasant viewing on the reserve.

     The suns late autumn glow illuminating the Ynys-hir landscape.

    A couple of Woodcock sightings, including a bird from the main drive, were notable given that mild conditions have slowed the rate of arrival of continental birds so far this autumn. The mild weather seems to have benefited other bird species with 1x Greenshank (over visitor centre pools, 28th), 1x Green Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, occasional), 1x Common Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, 30th) and 1x Chiffchaff (Wetland Trail, 30th) still present on the reserve. Whilst a Red Admiral (28th), Painted Lady (30th) and bats (29th) also remained active.

     There has been some great light for photography as can be seen from this excellent Mallard photo (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts).

    Two of our stars from the last sightings blog prolonged their stay on the reserve with the drake Green-winged Teal last sighted from the Ynys Feurig Hide on the 16th. The Great Northern Diver was occasionally seen on the estuary at high tide with the Saltings Hide providing most of the observations.

    Whilst creating viewing lines into the reedbed infront of the Covert Du Hide the conservation team observed an otter trail, heard at least two Water Rail and had lunch with a Robin who has discovered that the inside of the hide provides some easy pickings in the form of trapped flies (28th).

     Role-reversal? The Robin then observed the conservation team whilst they were busy cutting reed.

    Other interesting sightings included, 1x Pink-footed Goose (saltmarsh, regular), 4x Gadwall (Marian Mawr Pools, 29th), 35x Shoveler (Ynys Feurig Hide, 30th), 3x Goldeneye (Domen Las Hide, regular), 11x Goosander (Domen Las Hide, 30th), 3x Red Kite (Covert Du Hide, 28th), Merlin (saltmarsh,occasional), 1x Kingfisher (Marian Mawr Pools, regular), Black-tailed Godwit (Domen Las Hide, regular), 10+ Fieldfare (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, 18th) and 40+ Lesser Redpoll (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, regular).

     Up to three Goldeneye have been seen feeding in front of the Domen Las Hide.



    Posted by Adam J

  • 16 November 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 9th-15th November 2014


    We’ve just had another fantastic week on the reserve with the key sightings being a fine drake Green-winged Teal (Ynys Feurig Hide, daily since its discovery on the 11th), two Otter (Domen Las Hide,10th) and a  big bull Grey Seal (Domen Las Hide, 12th).

    This Green-winged Teal from North America could possibly be the same individual recorded on the reserve at the end of May this year. Note the vertical white stripe near the breast which is one of the main plumage differences between Green-winged and Eurasian Teal (Many Thanks to John Davis for the photograph).

     This huge bull Grey Seal caught an equally impressive salmon infront of the Domen Las hide during the week (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).

    Another excellent find was a Great Northern Diver, first seen from the Domen Las Hide on the 11th. The bird, which ranged from the Breakwater Hide to the Domen Las Hide, was regularly seen feeding on the estuary at high tide throughout the week.

    Highlights from the November Wetland Bird Survey (WEBS count) undertaken on the 10th included, 341x Barnacle Geese, 1x Pink-footed Goose, 7x Greylag Geese, 246x Mallard, 2x Gadwall, 16x Shoveler, 168x Wigeon, 5x Goldeneye, 15x Red-breasted Merganser, 21x Little Egret, 52x Redshank, 1x Spotted Redshank, 5x Snipe, 6x Bar-tailed Godwit, 15x Black-tailed Godwit, 388x Curlew and 2x Kingfisher.

    A nice selection of raptors continued to hunt on the reserve including, 3+ Red Kite (daily), 3+ Common Buzzard (daily), 1x Sparrowhawk (Wetland Trail, 12th), 2x Kestrel (daily), 1x Peregrine (saltmarsh, daily) and 1x Merlin (Ynys Feurig Hide, 13th).

     With their main feather moult now complete the reserve's Red Kites look even more stunning whilst patrolling over the saltmarsh (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo taken from the Domen Las Hide).

    On the non-avian front the mild weather allowed a few Common Darter dragonfly, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Peacock and a single Brimstone butterfly to remain active. A report of a Water Shrew, all be it dead, was a good record for the reserve at Ynys Edwin.

    Other interesting sightings this week included, 6x Goosander (Domen Las Hide, regular), 1200 Lapwing (Ynys Feurig Hide, 11th), 39x Dunlin (Ynys Feurig Hide, 12th), 1x Little Stint (Ynys Feurig Hide, 12th), 7x Greenshank (Ynys Feurig Hide, 11th), 1x Water Pipit (Saltings Hide, 11th & 12th), 3x Chiffchaff (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, 12th) and Crossbill (heard calling behind Visitor Centre, 14th).



    Posted by Adam J

  • 13 November 2014

    Ynys-hir Guided Walks


    We’re offering weekly guided walks every Wednesday morning at ten o’clock. Tom, one of our interns will be pointing out some of the wildlife and explaining about the management work done on the reserve.  

    If you are interested please ring us on: 01654 700222, to book a place. Alternatively, you can just turn up at the visitor centre at 9:50 Wednesday morning.

    Its £2.50 for RSPB members and £5 for non-members, and please remember to bring waterproofs and suitable footwear as some of the trails may be muddy.

     Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo of Black-tailed Godwits, a popular sighting on recent guided walks.

    Posted by Adam J

Your sightings

Grid reference: SN6896 (+2km)

Bean Goose (1)
24 Jan 2015
White-fronted Goose (Greenland) (25)
24 Jan 2015
Glaucous Gull ()
22 Jan 2015

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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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Note: Some reserves are not served directly by public transport and, in these cases, a nearby destination (from which you may need to walk or take a taxi or ferry) may be offered.