An insight into our new warden Grove's first few months working at Lake Vyrnwy.

On a cold and overcast day back in January, I arrived at Lake Vyrnwy for my first day as a Warden. This is a dream job for me, and it felt great pulling that blue polo shirt over my head that morning. It is a strange time to start a new role, a lockdown in full swing resulting in an eerie yet peaceful feel to the Lake. Virtual meet and greets with many of my new colleagues and lots of stories being shared of the bustling community that would usually be here and the flocks of visitors keen to see what mysteries the lake and its wildlife would reveal, seemed a long way from what I was witnessing.

Image: Waterfall in a moss covered forest. Photo by Grove Sykes. 

Yet nature pulled out all the stops for my welcome, with a welcome from my new colleagues made more difficult by current restrictions nature stepped up to the challenge and delivered 21 whooper swans on the lake. Their perfect white shapes elegantly drifting around on the still surface, it was quite the welcome committee. The icy breeze and snow having brought them to the lake for a couple of days it was a first day to remember.

Fast forward to now and three months have flown by and there is only so much I can put into words. The reserve has been turned white twice and received a thorough wash on multiple occasions too, it’s no surprise that they decided to build a reservoir here all those years ago. So, what secrets has Lake Vyrnwy revealed thus far?

Image: A frosty waterfall. Photo by Grove Sykes. 

The cold snap in February certainly released some magic. With the waterfall at Rhiwargor freezing to the point where there was only a trickle of running water flowing over and icicles taller than me on any rocky outcrop steep enough to let them form. The reserve truly did turn into a winter wonderland for a few days. It’s hard to believe now that this was only a month ago, yet I sit here today writing this with the songs of blackbirds, robins and song thrushes for company. A chorus announcing that spring is here, and that nature is awaking from it winter sleep.

Image: Icicles hanging from rocks over a stream. Photo by Grove Sykes. 

Alas, a little more patience is needed before we can share this all with you again. In the meantime, the wildflowers are just poking their first leaves out from the ground and our favourite summer residents, the pied flycatchers and redstarts, will be having their final meals in Africa before setting off on their long journey to the shores of Lake Vyrnwy ready to sing their hearts out. Nature is preparing to welcome you all back to Lake Vyrnwy in its most spectacular fashion.