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Recent sightings

  • 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

  • 6 December 2013

    Todays sightings at Ynys-hir

    A good count of water birds on the reserve today. The Breakwater fields were particularly good due to the high tides. Highlights include: 321 barnacle geese, 255 teal, 46 pintail, 275 wigeon, 31 shoveller, 1 scaup, 5 Goldeneye, 256 lapwing, 205 curlew, 2 bar-tailed godwits, 4 black-tailed godwits, 85 redshank, 1 spotted redshank, 2 greenshank, 2 green sandpipers, kingfisher, goshawk and a peregrine.

    Posted by David Anning

  • 28 November 2013

    Otters at Ynys-hir

    After working in conservation for 17-years I am in a privalaged position to enjoy nature every day, but every so often one sees something that is truely inspiring, like this morning.... Taking a short cut to work I crossed a bridge over a small ditch, a movement caught my eye and I turned to see an arched back, with a luster like wet slate, disappear beneath the floating flot grass. I knew immediately what it was- an otter! I waited, hoping I would get a second look and I was rewarded when it poked its head up through the grass, a second later another head appeared, two otter cubs within a few meters of me. They seemed completely oblivious to me as they fished beneath the floating weed and squabbed together. The various pants, coughs and squeaks they made was amazing, incredable noisy creatures. After a few minutes they disappeared behind a bramble bush, only to emerge again with a third cub. They then carried on up the ditch towards me and under the bridge I was standing on, at one point the smallest cub was within five-feet of me! Eventually they swam out of sight, although there snorts and chattering where still to be heard.

    Posted by David Anning

  • 15 November 2013

    Where do you go to my lovely?

    On Tuesday BTO ringers from the SCAN ringing group and RSPB staff at Ynys-hir caught and ringed 25 barnacle geese from our increasing winter flock. Barnacle geese breed in Greenland and Svalbard with small populations in Finland and Denmark, a large proportion of these winter in Britain and Ireland. In addition, there are substantial feral populations in England. The Dyfi birds arrive annually in early to mid-September and leave by early January we do not know where they come from or go to. Since the flock has increased in number and now numbers 300-400 birds it was felt important to know if it was a new, wild wintering population or just feral birds. Of the 25 birds, 23 were adults and two were juveniles. Each was ringed and measured and had a special plastic colour ring added so that it could be easily identified in the field. It is hoped that birdwatchers in the UK and across Europe will look out for these birds so that we can find out more about this beautiful bird.

    Posted by David Anning

Your sightings

Grid reference: SN6896 (+2km)

Great White Egret ()
28 Sep 2014
Marsh Harrier ()
1 Oct 2014
Green Sandpiper ()
1 Oct 2014
Buzzard ()
1 Oct 2014
Great Black-backed Gull ()
1 Oct 2014
Raven ()
1 Oct 2014
Nuthatch ()
1 Oct 2014
Mute Swan ()
1 Oct 2014
Canada Goose ()
1 Oct 2014
Teal ()
1 Oct 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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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.


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