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Recent sightings

  • 12 April 2014

    Lake Vyrnwy Recent Sightings 31st March- 11th April 2014

    Hi,

    After late March’s large Chiffchaff arrival spring bird migration slowed through the first week of April and with fog and rain dominating this probably wasn’t too big a surprise. The conservation team are a committed bunch however and whilst out and about on the reserve managed to observe a few migrants which had decided to power through the difficult conditions. Single Sand Martins were seen on three separate occasions, the first Willow Warbler of the year (Yellow Trail, 4th), two Wheatear in fields behind the hotel and flocks of 12 and 5 Lesser Black-Backed Gulls over the lake.

    After a spell of persistent rain the dam and surrounding waterfalls looked spectacular.

    In comparison the second week of April was a lot more settled allowing migrant birds to filter into and over the reserve. Year firsts for Lake Vyrnwy included, Osprey (flyover, 10th), Swallow (flyover, 10th), Common Redstart (Blue Trail, 9th) and Blackcap (Sculpture Park, 11th). A single Fieldfare observed from the Blue Trail (9th) was probably on its way to Scandinavia for the summer.

    The lake played host to 4x Cormorant, 6x Canada Goose, 6x Goosander (roosting, 4th) and a small number of Mallard Duck. Following the river downstream of the dam, Grey Heron, 2x Dipper and Grey Wagtail were sighted. Peregrine Falcon could also be spotted perched up on cliffs from the Lakeside Hide.

    Bird feeders around the Visitor Centre and Coed y Capel hide played host to a variety of species including, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling (single female, 6th), Goldfinch, Greenfinch and lots of Siskin.

    Good numbers of Siskin continue to use the reserve bird feeders. Look how bright green the male bird (top right) is compared to the three females.

    Goat Willow (Pussy Willow) and Blackthorn put on a fantastic  flowering display in the car parks with the large yellow male catkins of goat willow proving popular with freshly emerged bumblebees.

    The blue and yellow trails continue to be productive areas for watching wildlife with Common Buzzard, Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, all six of the common tit species (Great, Coal, Blue, Marsh, Willow and Long-tailed Tit), Stock Doves, Green Woodpecker, 9+ Pied Wagtail, Jay and Lesser Redpoll seen on a regular basis.

    Macrolepidoptera Of The Week

    At the beginning of April the Lake Vyrnwy mothing season commenced and this week I’m introducing a new feature to the blog in which we’ll showcase some of the weird and wonderful moth species that call the reserve home.

    So what are macrolepidoptera? Strictly speaking the term is used by both professional and citizen scientists to group together the larger moths and the small moths, well they’re microlepidoptera. However, confusingly some micro moths are larger than their macro relatives.

    Oak Beauty is this week’s top moth. Common in the UK and an inhabitant of mature deciduous woodland, this attractive chestnut and white macro really stood out from the crowd.

    This week's top moth the Oak Beauty.

    Cheers,

    Adam

    Posted by Adam J

  • 2 April 2014

    Recent Sightings March 2014

    Hello my name is Adam and I’m one of two interns who have joined the team at RSPB Lake Vyrnwy for the next six months. Since starting our role on the reserve me and Tom, the other intern, have managed to see 71 bird species and the main focus of today’s blog is to update you with our wildlife sightings from the month of March.

    March had its fair share of dry sunny days allowing visitors and staff to enjoy the fantastic scenery.

    Frosty mornings resulted in a frenzy of activity at the Coed y Capel hide feeding station with Great Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch all regulars. Interestingly at the time of writing (30th March) the number of Siskin has greatly increased on the reserve and we hope that our nyjer seed feeders will help provide you with close views of these feisty finches.

    The area between the dam and the sculpture park was a productive spot with regular sightings of Goosander, Dipper and Grey Wagtail on the river. A Firecrest sighted on the 11th may well still be in the area, take time to familiarise yourself with the call and you might catch up with this little gem on the reserve.

    On the lake 5x Canada Geese, 5x Mallard, 2x Teal, 3x Little Grebe, 1x Great Crested Grebe, 3x Cormorant were seen most days, whilst 4x 1st-winter Mute Swan (8th), 3x Tufted Duck (14th), 1x male Goldeneye (29th) and 1x Redshank (14th) were only one day birds which spent most of their time resting.

    This group of young Mute Swans spent one day resting on the lake, most likely after being persuaded to leave home by their parents who will be preparing for the new breeding season.

    A warm spell mid-month provided perfect conditions for birds of prey to be on the wing, with a bit of patience Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Goshawk and Peregrine Falcon could all be seen flying over the lake. The sunshine also brought a small number of butterflies out of hibernation with Brimstone, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell sighted across the reserve.

    The Craig Garth-bwlch trail (blue trail) provided some great birding with 1x Green Woodpecker, 3x Raven, 20+ Starling, 2x Treecreeper, 5+ Redwing, 15+ Fieldfare and 1x Lesser Redpoll of note.

    Ditches alongside many of the reserve trails are currently full of frog spawn with one pool also revealing the presence of another amphibian, a newt. The frog spawn unfortunately led to the poor newts’ demise after it became entangled within the jelly mass.

    Towards the end of the month warm southerly winds resulted in our first Wheatear and Chiffchaffs of the year (25th). A large arrival of Chiffchaff was particularly evident over the last weekend of March with singing birds spread across the reserve. The warm temperatures also caused lots of toads to awaken and head towards their breeding ponds.

    This little chap posed for the camera whilst en route to its breeding pond.


    Cheers,

    Adam

    Posted by Adam J

  • 30 June 2013

    Summer Sightings

    Hobby: On the moorland over the Bala road.

    Nightjar: Pair on the Red Trail last Friday and Saturday nights.

    Spotted Flycatcher: One next to the white bridge down the river over the last few days

    Hen Harrier: Over the moorland but in reduced numbers.

    Peregrine: Two seen from the Lakeside hide on the cliff opposite

    Pied Flycatcher: Male showing well from Centenary hide

    Dipper: Individuals seen on the rive and along the Green Trail

    Grey Wagtail: On the river and next to the Rhiwargor waterfall

    Red Kite: Seen occasionally from the Dinas and Bala roads

    Cuckoo: One heard calling regularly along the red trail

    Posted by Matt H

  • 31 May 2013

    Spring(Watch) is here at last!

    As you may have seen yesterday Vyrnwy was featured on springwatch with Iolo Williams introducing the Hen Harriers on the reserve. If you are driving along the Bala or Dinas roads be sure to keep an eye out for them. Other highlights include:

    Spotted Flycatcher: Two seen from the centenary hide on the 29th May.

    Kingfisher: Seen along the river this evening.

    Cuckoo: Heard along many of the trails on the reserve.

    Wood Warbler: Present in sizeable numbers and can be seen or heard regularly throughout the reserve.

    Whinchat: Present in large numbers on the moorland.

    These are some of the highlights but there are plenty more birds on the reserve now including: Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Buzzard, Red Kite, Kestrel, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Swift and House Martin among others.

    Posted by Matt H

  • 18 May 2013

    Recent Sightings: 13th May - 18th May

    Some good highlights this week as more birds are passing through or arriving.

    Whimbrel: The highlight of the week with 4 birds perched on the dam for a couple of hours on Wednesday evening

    Swift: The first birds have arrived and are screaming along the village rooftops

    House Martin: Beginning to nest under the village eaves

    Hen Harrier: Still present over the moorland. Keep an eye out if you are travelling along the Bala or Dinas roads

    Red Kite: One seen over the north end of the reserve on the 16th.

    Peregrine: Two birds seen regularly from the Lakeside hide.

    Spotted Flycatcher: Not on the reserve strictly speaking but they have been reported north of Bala. Should be arriving here soon if they are not here already.

    In addition there are still good numbers of the usual finches and tit species on the feeders outside the shop. A short walk through the village should be rewarded with sightings of Swallows, House Martins and Swifts. Further afield Wood Warblers, Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts may all be seen along the trails and from the Centenary hide.

    Posted by Matt H

  • 5 May 2013

    Recent Sightings: 28th April - 5th May

    Better weather this week and the numbers of migrants are increasing. Highlights of the week are as follows:

    Dipper: Two on the river on the 29th.

    Red Kite: One over the reserve on the 1st May.

    Wood Warbler: One showing well on the Green Trail in the woodland yesterday.

    Grey Wagtail: One seen briefly along the river on the Green Trail yesterday.

    Pied Flycatcher: Large numbers of these in the woodlands around the site.

    Common Sandpiper: Two seen in front of Lakeside hide on the 3rd May.

    Peregrine Falcon: Two seen flying over the Centenary hide yesterday.

    A large number of finches are around the feeders at the moment, including siskin and goldfinch.

    Posted by Matt H

  • 28 April 2013

    Recent Sightings: 22nd April - 27th April

    A mixture of weather this week with both sunshine and rain has not stopped the influx of migrants to the reserve. Notables include:

    Red Kite: Two birds circling high up over the blue trail yesterday evening. A surprising rarity at Vyrnwy

    Pied Flycatcher: Increasing in numbers with many spotted on the blue and yellow trails in addition to the green trail

    Redstart: Slowly increasing. Hotspots being lakeside and centenary hides along with the blue trail walk.

    Lesser Redpoll: A small influx before they leave us for the summer. Some males beginning to display their breeding plumage from the Coed Y Capel hide.

    Hen Harrier: Over the Moorland.

    Grasshopper Warbler: First ones of the year heard (but not seen) along the Bala road.

    Blackcap: First female of the year on the 25th.

    There should be some swifts in the next couple of weeks coming in alongside the first spotted flycatchers and wood warblers of the year so keep your eyes and ears peeled.

    Posted by Matt H

  • 21 April 2013

    Recent Sightings: 15th April - 21st April

    Spring is finally here; the chiffchaffs have arrived and are singing away and the swallows are swooping around overhead. Furthermore, other spring migrants to arrive include the first Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers of the year. Other highlights of the week are as follows:

    Osprey: One west over the reserve on the 15th and one remarkably flew right over the RSPB shop this morning. 

    Cuckoo: First bird of the year seen and heard from the red trail on the 19th and 20st.

    Hen Harrier: Seen over the moorlands.

    Whinchat: Seen on the moorland yesterday.

    Wheatear: Good numbers on the moorland now.

    Common Sandpiper: Seen from the Lakeside hide yesterday.

    Goshawk: Seen briefly from the blue trail.

    Lesser Redpoll: One on the feeders in front of the Coed y Capel hide yesterday afternoon.

    Now is a great time to go looking for migrants and other resident birds. As more birds begin to arrive for the breeding season there is a great window of opportunity to get great views of the birds before the trees begin to grow their leaves again. And who knows you might spot the first Wood Warbler or Spotted Flycatcher of the year here at Lake Vyrnwy.

    Posted by Matt H

  • 7 April 2013

    Recent sightings: 29th March - 7th April

    Due to difficulties getting around the reserve this week due to the snow, sightings have been limited. However there were several notable sightings as detailed below:

    Osprey: Highlight of the week (although I missed it!) seen on the 29th March. At least one, possibly two individuals.

    Kingfisher: Seen briefly along the river below the dam on the 1st April.

    Goshawk: Viewed and heard briefly on 4th April.

    Raven: Present and displaying above the dam and RSPB shop. Also good views from the lakeside and centenary hides.

    Buzzard: Regular sightings throughout the week, including 3 individuals displaying along the blue trail on 5th April.

    Dipper: One sighted swimming on the river below the dam on 5th April.

    Lesser Redpoll: One seen on the feeders this morning.

    Great Spotted Woodpecker: Increasing numbers with several drumming on trees around the shop.

    Little Grebe: Great view right in front of the lakeside hide yesterday.

    Tree Pipit: Spotted on the blue trail earlier today. The migrants are beginning to arrive!

    In addition, there are good numbers of the usual finches and tit species on the feeders outside the shop and the Coed Y Capel hide. On the lake, there are now at least five Great Crested Grebes and two pairs of Goosander. With the weather starting to improve slowly and a forecast of southerly winds over the weekend, hopefully more of the summer migrants are not too far away.

    Posted by Matt H

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Grid reference: SJ0119 (+2km)

Pied Flycatcher (2)
13 Apr 2014

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  • Lat/lng: 52.76139,-3.45969
  • Grid reference: SJ016192
  • Nearest town: Welshpool, Powys
  • County: Powys
  • Country: Wales

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