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Recent sightings

  • 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

  • 8 November 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 2nd-8th November 2014


    The spectacle of thousands of wetland birds feeding and roosting on the Breakwater field over high tide has to be one of the main highlights over the past week. With the high tides being over five metres most of the saltmarsh was inundated with seawater pushing the estuary birds over the railway line and onto the wet grassland. Peak counts from the Breakwater field over the past week included, 20x Shoveler (8th), 10+ Pintail (8th), 1x Golden Plover (5th), 900+ Lapwing (8th), 37x Dunlin (8th), 125x Redshank  (7th), 1x Spotted Redshank (7th & 8th), 4x Greenshank (8th), 36x Black-tailed Godwit (7th), 19x Bar-tailed Godwit (7th) and 500+ Curlew (7th).

    Over 100 Oystercatcher could be seen roosting on the saltmarsh (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).

    Another highlight was a single Water Pipit observed feeding alongside Meadow Pipits right in front of the Saltings Hide (4th & 7th). Fingers crossed that this scarce bird will winter on the reserve.

    The wintering flock of Greenland White-fronted Geese increased to 20 birds (5th) with the Breakwater Hide being the best place to catch a glimpse of the birds, which tend to hang out on either the saltmarsh or wet grassland to the west. The diversity of feral waterfowl on the reserve increased with 1x Australian Shelduck, 1x Cackling Goose and 1x Pink-footed Goose joining the flocks of Canada and Greylag Geese grazing on the reserve.

    Over 360 Barnacle Geese remained on the saltmarsh, including some returning colour ringed birds. Last winter a small number of Barnacle Geese were ringed here (blue ring with a number and letter on the left leg, metal ring on the right leg) in order to find out where the birds moved to during the breeding season. Through people reporting their sightings, it was discovered that the geese were heading up to the Lakes District in North West England. On the 8th November, I managed to get great views of two of the colour ringed Barnacle Geese, 3C and 3T, a pair who were grazing with their two offspring opposite the Domen Las Hide.

    Keep a lookout for colour ringed Barnacle Geese like 3C and 3T who were seen feeding with their two offspring from the Domen Las Hide.

    The Starling roost continued to provide some excellent viewing from the Ynys Eidiol screen. On the 2nd November around 5000 birds put on a great show which was lengthened due to the presence of a huge female Peregrine and 2 Sparrowhawk on the lookout for a Starling supper. Check out the RSPB Mid Wales Facebook Page for a short video of the murmuration taken during the week.

    On the non-avian front, a small number of Red Admiral butterfly and a single Common Darter dragonfly took advantage of the milder weather at the beginning of the week and of course how can I forget the superb autumn colours that are currently on show in the woodlands.

     Wrens could occasionally be heard belting out short bursts of song (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).

    Other interesting sightings this week included, 3x Gadwall (pair Marian Mawr Hide, 8th and 1x female Ynys Edwin Pool, daily), 3x Goldeneye (1ml 2fm, Domen Las Hide, 8th), 8x Red-breasted Merganser (Breakwater Hide, regular), 9x Little Grebe (Domen Las Hide, 4th), 1x Great Crested Grebe (Breakwater Hide, 8th), 47x Little Egret (roosting on the northern side of the estuary), 1x Hen Harrier (male, Wetland Trail Boardwalk, 3rd), 1x Peregrine Falcon (Saltmarsh, regular), 1x Green Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, 8th), 2x Kingfisher (Domen Las Hide, 4th), Redwing (small numbers around Visitor Centre, daily), Chiffchaff (heard calling around the Ynys Eidiol screen, regular) and c.40 Lesser Redpoll (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, regular).



    Posted by Adam J

  • 6 November 2014

    Pool With A View 2


    The conservation team have been back out undertaking habitat management around the Marian Mawr pools. On this occasion we were busy cutting back vegetation on the islands, a continuation of work which began last winter. Regular visitors to the reserve will remember the substantial amount of scrub which was removed from the large island in front of the Marian Mawr hide in the hope of getting the area into top condition for breeding and feeding wetland birds.

    With boat in tow the team headed across the choppy waters to tackle the forest of rosebay willowherb, bramble and juncus. Armed with brushcutters, loppers and rakes the vegetation was quickly cleared, leaving the islands in favourable condition for next years breeding season.

    Sylvia got stuck into the willow re-growth

    Back on the mainland the team handed over vegetation control to the reserve’s herd of Welsh mountain ponies. Over the next few weeks the ponies will be grazing around the pool edges to further reduce the grass sward height, which will encourage species such as wigeon and curlew to forage in the area.

    The reserve’s Welsh mountain ponies will hopefully make short work of the vegetation around the Marian Mawr pools.



    Posted by Adam J

  • 2 November 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 25th October- 1st November 2014


    The Dyfi Estuary plays host to the only regular wintering flock of Greenland White-Fronted Geese in the whole of Wales and England, therefore news of our first returning birds, ten on the 28th October, was a real highlight on the reserve this week. The geese were sighted regularly throughout with 3 on the Breakwater field (29th) and at least 10 on the saltmarsh, viewed from the Ynys Feurig Hide (1st).

    A superb male Hen Harrier was regularly seen hunting on the reserve with the first sighting from the Marian Mawr Hide (24th). Visitors also had exceptional views of the male harrier from the Wetland Trail Boardwalk (1st). A ringtail Hen Harrier also remained in the area where it was observed from the public footpath which runs parallel to the Afon Cletwr (Os Grid Ref: SN646939). Other bird of prey sightings included, 3x Red Kite (Wetland Trail, 27th), 1x Common Buzzard (regularly perched in a dead tree next to the Visitor Centre pools), Peregrine Falcon (saltmarsh, regular) and Kestrel (Visitor Centre and Ynys Feurig Hide, daily).

    Kingfishers were regularly sighted throughout the week including this bird from the Domen Las Hide (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).

    The Breakwater field played host to an excellent variety of wetland birds which included, 3x Whooper Swan (29th), 350+ Teal (29th), 17x Shoveler (29th), 7x Black-tailed Godwit (1st) and Snipe (27th).

    The Breakwater field can be viewed from the Breakwater and Ynys Feurig Hide. This photograph, which includes three Whooper Swans (can you see them?), was taken from the Ynys Feurig Hide during the week.

    The Starling roost remained at the Ynys Eidiol screen providing some good viewing with c. 3000 birds roosting on the 27th. A single Little Grebe was also sighted from the screen (28th).

     This Redshank showed well from the Domen Las Hide (Many Thanks to  Keith Roberts for the photo).

    Other interesting sightings this week included, otter from the Domen Las Hide (1st), Hare (Wetland Trail, regular), Red Admiral (Wetland Trail, 1st), 365x Barnacle Geese (saltmarsh, daily), 56+ Shelduck (Ynys Feurig Hide, 1st), 2x Gadwall (Marian Mawr Hide, 30th), 4x Goosander (Breakwater Hide, 1st), 7x Red-breasted Merganser (Breakwater Hide, regular), 1x Great Crested Grebe (Breakwater Hide, 27th), 1x Bar-tailed Godwit (Breakwater Hide, 1st), 23x Stock Dove (sacrificial seed crop near the Breakwater Hide, 29th) and 30+ Redwing (Visitor Centre, regular).

    Feathered Thorn moths were occasionally found snoozing on the reserve's buildings. 

    Finally, many thanks to everyone who emailed their Ynys-hir wildlife photographs over the past week. If you have taken any photographs of wildlife on a recent visit to the reserve and would be happy for them to feature in the Recent Sightings Blog then please email them to the following address:



    Posted by Adam J

  • 24 October 2014

    Ynys-hir Recent Sightings 11th-24th October 2014


    Welcome to an eventful fortnightly addition of the sightings blog. With so much going on at this time of year it’s been difficult to pick a highlight, however two daytime sightings of otter, one from Domen Las Hide (20th) and one from the Ynys Eidiol viewing screen (23rd) is exciting news for those (including me) who are trying to catch a glimpse of these elusive critters on the reserve.

    Wintering birds continued to arrive throughout with our first Redwings (10 on the Wetland Trail, 22nd) and Whooper Swans (4x over 20th and 22nd, possibly the same birds).  A Starling roost has established in the reedbed in front of the Covert Du Hide with c.500 birds murmurating at present, numbers are likely to increase as birds continue to arrive into the country over the next few weeks.

    November moths were occasionally seen on gates and pathside vegetation during the week.

    The remnants of ex-hurricane Gonzalo failed to deposit any American or sea birds onto the reserve however birds sheltering on the Breakwater field on the 21st included, 32x Little Egret, 10x Shoveler, 20+ Redshank, 1x Greenshank and 4x Black-tailed Godwit.

    Raptors patrolling on the reserve over the past fortnight included, 3+ Red Kite (daily), 1x Hen Harrier (ringtail, Hen-hafod, 21st and Ynys Feurig Hide, 24th), Common Buzzard (daily) and Kestrel (Visitor Centre, daily).

    Hares were occasionally sighted on the grassland (Many Thanks to Liam Olds for the photo).

    Other interesting sightings included, Tufted Duck (Breakwater Hide, 16th), 5x Red-breasted Merganser (Breakwater Hide, 22nd), 23x Lapwing (Ynys Feurig Hide, 22nd), 6x Black-tailed Godwit (Breakwater Hide, 21st), 2x Snipe (Marian Mawr field, 23rd), Kingfisher (Marian Mawr Hide, daily), Rock Pipit (Saltings Hide, regular), 2x Stonechat (Saltings Hide, regular), Chiffchaff (occasionally heard calling in the reserve hedgerows) and 2x Yellowhammer (Saltings Hide, 20th).

    Small numbers of Chiffchaff can still be heard calling in the reserve hedgerows, often as part of a foraging mixed flock (Many Thanks to Laurie Wright for the photo).

    Finally, have you been on a recent visit to Ynys-hir and taken photographs of the wildlife? Would you be happy for your photos to feature in our sightings blog? If you have answered yes to these questions we would love to hear from you. Please email your Ynys-hir wildlife photos to the following address:

    Many Thanks,


    Posted by Adam J

  • 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

Your sightings

Grid reference: SN6896 (+2km)

Green-winged Teal ()
16 Nov 2014
Bar-tailed Godwit ()
20 Nov 2014
Goosander (2)
19 Nov 2014
Black-tailed Godwit ()
17 Nov 2014
Great Northern Diver ()
16 Nov 2014
Little Stint ()
12 Nov 2014
Spotted Redshank ()
12 Nov 2014
Water Pipit ()
12 Nov 2014

Contact us

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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