Rhiwargor waterfall on 2nd December by Gavin Chambers

The last week has been a rollercoaster of weather, starting with strong winds from Storm Diana, persistent rain over the weekend and now to a week of up and down temperatures from zero degrees to 10+ degrees but very little sunshine. Being raised in Scotland, I would class the past week as rather dreich.

However, rain isn’t all bad as Jampa wrote about in a recent blog. The lake is filling up quickly as we slowly forget how low it was just a few months ago, streams are in spate and waterfalls are looking their best. Our best known waterfall at Rhiwargor along the Green Trail was certainly looking good on Sunday during a soggy walk.

Despite the conditions there were still birds around foraging for food. A raven flew over the car park cronking as it searched for carrion over the fields while a dipper bobbed on the exposed river stones before diving in to find caddisfly larvae. Further up the valley the distinctive chak chak call of fieldfare was heard before a small flock of 15 birds took off from a berry laden hawthorn bush.

Fieldfare (archive photo by Gavin Chambers)

Walking back through the mixed woodland to the main road the high pitched calls of goldcrest were heard coming down from the dense conifers with the occasional ‘pea-chu’ call of a coal tit. These were soon interrupted by the raucous calls of a jay flying through, probably on the hunt for an acorn or two.

Stopping at the Lakeside Hide while driving back I found a decent sized flock of teal, around 80 birds, and the usual flock of mallard feeding around the edge of the lake. Within this flock the pure white farm mallard is still present and easily catches your attention when looking for something different, but sadly not a male smew this time. Also nearby was a small flock of brambling feeding on beech mast under the beech trees along the roadside.

Other sightings from the last week have included little grebe from the Old Village car park, a kingfisher calling from the Centenary Hide, a peregrine over the dam, woodcock flying high over the Bala road and a general increase in bird activity around the feeders by the shop and from the Coed y Capel Hide, as can be seen from a visitors recent tweet.

Work Party

Last week, Mid Wales RSPB staff and volunteers gathered at Ynys-Hir for a couple of days of habitat management. The main aim was to remove shrub from the bog, which involved chainsaws, a chipper and a lot of hands. Getting the whole team together allowed us to covered a much larger area than the Ynys-Hir team alone could do in a week. It may have been wet and windy, but we all enjoyed the rewarding work and the managers baking!

Mid Wales team removing shrub from bog at Ynys-Hir

Gavin Chambers, Warden

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