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Recent sightings

  • 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

  • 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

Your sightings

Grid reference: SN6896 (+2km)

Goosander ()
14 Dec 2014
Black-tailed Godwit ()
14 Dec 2014
Greenshank (1)
14 Dec 2014
Kingfisher ()
14 Dec 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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