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Recent sightings

  • 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

  • 4 November 2013

    Todays sightings

    A count of wildfowl on the reserve today came up with some really interesting totals: 320 mallards, 937 teals, 266 wigeons, 59 pintails, 21 shovellers, 294 barnacle geese, 115 curlews, 134 oystercatchers, three greenshanks, 134 lapwings, two black-tailed godwits and 300 golden plovers. Other birds include a hen harrier, 100+ redwings, five bullfinches, 30 reed buntings and two kingfishers.

    Posted by David Anning

  • 18 October 2013

    This weeks birds...

    A busy week for birds. Highlights include a female merlin, a female hen harrier, 300+ barnacle geese, c50 pintail, c300 wigeon, c300 teal, the first goldeneye of the autumn, 20 grey plovers, a ruff, two curlew sandpipers and three black tailed godwits. The best hide has been the new Ynys-Feurig hide, although the Saltings and Breakwater hides have been good too.

    Posted by David Anning

Your sightings

Grid reference: SN6896 (+2km)

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (1)
6 Sep 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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