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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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).