Our last post a couple of weeks ago was entitled ‘Is it Spring yet?’, well this posts title answers that question. The weather has again been one of the talking points with a return to wintery scenes and then a week of cold crisp Spring mornings. This has certainly had an impact on the arrival of spring migrants, as some will have halted their journey and others that had already arrived may have temporarily moved away, especially the moorland species such as meadow pipits and even the hen harriers.

After an unpleasant week the weather turned to being cold, crisp and sunny which allowed birds to return or start arriving. Hen harriers and merlin are on the moorland and best looked for from the Dinas Mawddwy or Bala mountain roads, though patience is required. By the Gadfa farm buildings along the Dinas Mawddwy road is a good place to look for our moorland species.

Wheatear (Archive photo by Gavin Chambers)

Wheatear have returned with a singing male attempting to woo a female this week, while others will be moving through heading for their breeding grounds further north in the UK and potentially beyond. It won’t be too long until whinchat are back and there is always a chance of a migrating ring ouzel stopping off to refuel at this time of year.

Off the mountain tops, the woodland is starting to come alive with birds singing their hearts out. The tuneful songs of blackbird and robin can be heard dawn till dusk, while the now abundant chiffchaff shouts out its name throughout the valley. It’s quite likely that the first willow warbler and blackcap have arrived, though not yet heard.

Pied flycatcher (Archive photo by Gavin Chambers)

Perhaps our most iconic species of the Atlantic oak woodlands on the reserve is the pied flycatcher. We welcomed our first males back on the 8th April along the Yellow Trail with its distinct alarm call. To see these charismatic birds take a walk along the Yellow Trail looking out for the nest boxes which they will soon be selecting as their home.

On the water, we had exciting news of an otter with 2 cubs playing in the pool outside the Centenary Hide this week. We haven’t had very many sightings for a couple of years so this is really encouraging and hopefully the first of many sightings to come. There has also been a pair of mandarin and Canada geese from the hide with great crested grebes seen on the lake.

Gavin Chambers, Warden

Previous Blog: Is it Spring yet?

  • We definately felt that Spring had sprung during our visit on 23rd April, plenty of species feeding at Coed Y Capel hide, didn't take the time to look for Pied Flycatchers on the Yellow Trail but shared lunch with the Finches and Common Sandpiper at Llechwedd Du Picnic site. Then saw and heard a great selection of song birds including Chiffchaff along the Purple trail, no confirmed Blackcaps, but we nearly tripped over a Slow Worm passing in front of us near the seat with a view. Canada Geese and Great Crested Grebes from the Lakeside Hide but no Mandarins or Otters! and we did hear a Peregines echoing call on the hillside across the water and saw a Raven twisting in the wind. My Son and Daughter managed to see plenty of Hen Harriers during thier volunteer trip out but no Ring Ouzels and although we flushed out a great pair of Jays and a Green Woodpecker on our way out on the Bala road it was all quiet out on moors apart from Pied Wagtails on the roadside and Grey Wagtails on the Afon Nadroedd. The Goshawks and Merlin eluded us once more but on the final drive back we were treated to a Buzzard sitting on a fence post in full view by the layby at the Llechwedd Du Picnic site and a Red Kite floating above the dam while we watched Swallows flitting in and out of the towers. So all in all another great day at our favourite reserve. The Saunders family.