• Who's coming and going?

    With summer now appearing to be fading in to the past, Autumn has really taken over with autumnal colours now splashed across the countryside and the weather turning far more ‘autumnal’. Storm Callum is about to be the third storm to hit the UK giving the impression we might be in for a stormy season. This is the season of change and that is very true for wildlife.

    Bird migration is in full swing with birds…

    • 12 Oct 2018
  • A volunteer for all seasons!

    Residential volunteers at Lake Vyrnwy can stay in the volunteer accommodation bungalows. In each bungalow there is a log book which people can use to record what they have experienced during their stay. Some people record a brief summary, whilst others keep a more detailed diary. Last week I took the opportunity to read through the log and it struck me how many different tasks and skills volunteers have taken on at Lake…

    • 5 Oct 2018
  • Autumn

    As the seasons change and it gets wetter and colder, it’s easy to see why less of us venture out into nature. Lower light levels and cooler temperatures affect our mood and motivation. The temptation to snuggle up in front of a warm fire and enter a period of semi hibernation may be strong but it’s worth listening to arguments in favour of braving the elements and exploring the beauty of autumn.

    Three good…

    • 27 Sep 2018
  • Connecting with nature 1 step at a time……

    With summer almost officially over and autumn knocking on the door, I’ve been thinking about the perilous journeys all migratory birds have to make either back home or as they make their way here to us at Lake Vyrnwy for winter. One of my favourite spring/summer migrants has to be the pied flycatcher. They are small, flycatching birds, slightly smaller than a house sparrow. The male is mostly black on the upperparts and…

    • 20 Sep 2018
  • Hay Meadows

    Cyue Parc, photo by Gethin Elias

    I have grown up around Llanuwchllyn with not a meadow in site, yet I have found myself to have a passion for hay meadows. Is it because they are full of colour, that they sing a lulling hum on a perfect summers day, or that the smell of many species of flower reminds me of a perfect pot of honey.

    In the UK we have lost 98% of our wild flower meadows since the war, this fact is a good…

    • 13 Sep 2018
  • Vyrnwy Sightings and News

    Bird life has gone slightly quiet at the moment as they start moving around looking for food and in general have stopped singing. A walk through woodland at this time of year can be very peaceful and thought provoking allowing yourself to immerse into the surroundings, but around the corner you may suddenly come across a marauding flock of birds noisily moving through the area. Typically, these are mixed tit species flocks…

    • 7 Sep 2018
  • Cloud of Bats

    In the last week or so there has been a noticeable drop in temperature, which for certain species will be a trigger to start moving or increase their food intake to allow them to migrate. It’s a little early for species to start hibernating but no doubt some insects will start to think about it, especially if the temperatures remain as they are.

    On Saturday we held a bat and moth walk where we walked a short loop…

    • 31 Aug 2018
  • For the love of trees

    I thought I’d share a bit about my love of trees and some of the reasons why they are so amazing. They are an important feature of the reserve at Lake Vyrnwy and much more important to life on Earth than many people realise.

    Currently, we have around 3 trillion trees on Earth. This may seem a large number but this is less than half of the number which is estimated for 12,000 years ago. It is thought that there…

    • 28 Aug 2018
  • Whatever happened to the likely lads/lasses

    Lake Vyrnwy was been lucky to have some very talented and determined warden interns/long term volunteers. We thought it would be nice to review what has happened to some of them and how they have developed their careers in nature conservation.

    Let’s start with Adam whose current role is as assistant warden at RSPB Saltholme.

    Adam at work installing a Shelduck box at Saltholme

    I still have fond memories of being…

    • 20 Aug 2018
  • Hen Harrier Dance

    Now the monitoring season has come to an end, I find myself missing the dance of the hen harrier.

    Gadfa, RSPB Lake Vyrnwy (photo by Gethin Elias)

    It’s always hard to get people to understand what we do as work between March and early August. We sit for four hours monitoring moorland birds. The common answer to that is “anybody could do that, what’s the point?”

    It feels like a common thing…

    • 9 Aug 2018
  • Moth Deja-vu!

    The bird survey season has now in general come to an end with most birds having now fledged and started to wander further afield. Birds such as pied flycatcher seem to completely disappear once the chicks leave the nest though this is mainly due to their habit of moving into the tree tops to feed making them difficult to spot. However, redstarts are a bit showier and can be spotted by their flicking red tail as they dart…

    • 27 Jul 2018
  • Demystifying Shinrin-Yoku

    Since we started running forest bathing events at Lake Vyrnwy, I’ve been approached by a wide range of people who are curious or simply confused about forest bathing. So, I thought it was about time for a simple explanation of what we do, how it works and the debunking of a few misconceptions.

    Firstly, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WATER; no swimming, paddling or jumping in the reservoir, rivers or any other water…

    • 17 Jul 2018
  • June Safari

    Sometimes volunteers at the RSPB are also members, but it is rather special when you have a member who does volunteer work and helps organise a local members group. One such special person is June Jennings who has been volunteering and has been Treasurer of the Shropshire members group for 22 years.

    The Shropshire members group held their AGM last October (read more here). At this meeting Connie Sansom, Local Groups…

    • 28 Jun 2018
  • A Blooming Good Season

    A few weeks of warm dry weather has been followed by some murky drizzly conditions, though not forgetting the dramatic thunderstorms, which has provided good conditions for many species and habitats this summer.

    The timing has been very good for the productivity of box nesting birds, with a specific interest in the success of pied flycatchers. This year over 500 pied flycatcher chicks have been recorded from around 100…

    • 21 Jun 2018
  • Marvellous Moths

    On an evening walk with the children this last weekend, amongst the flurries and singing of the birds and the bubbling water of the stream, we spotted a beautiful elephant hawkmoth feeding on honeysuckle for nectar. My daughter immediately piped up ‘what a beautiful butterfly’ and was rather surprised when I told her it was in fact a moth. This got me thinking about how moths are generally perceived by people – brown…

    • 16 Jun 2018
  • Bino Blog

    Bino Blog

    We have a lot of conversations with visitors about binoculars and scopes in the RSPB shop and often find that some simple advice can make life so much simpler and bring nature up close in wonderful ways. So, I thought it might be useful to share a few tips and dispel a few myths in this week’s blog.

    Firstly, bigger is not always better!

    Optics come in a variety of magnifications. For binoculars, the…

    • 12 Jun 2018
  • Let the feeding begin

    With the majority of summer migrant birds having been back on the reserve for a few weeks now and the weather has improved, we are now seeing our first eggs hatching. Though the weather has in general improved the heavy, thundery rain showers may cause issues for adults searching for food for chicks when they first hatch. However, given the seemingly late strange spring, we are still see birds nest building which may…

    • 1 Jun 2018
  • Playaway

    Last week I had the chance to spend an hour with Jimmy and Pete, two of Vyrnwy’s long serving volunteers who began coming to Vyrnwy 32 years ago and 25 years ago respectively. “Good old boys from Suffolk.” It is a fair old trip from Suffolk across to Powys so I asked them why Vyrnwy rather than a more local reserve, why did they decide to play away from home. They simply replied “because we love it here and because we…

    • 25 May 2018
  • As spring has finally arrived

    Finally the birds are singing and all the migrants are back. The woods, lanes and countryside are starting to come alive to different shades of colour with a variety of different plants. Here are a few plants you may see when you are out.

    I have always had an interest in plants, their medicinal properties and folk law. Much of the text has come from “Britain’s Wild Flowers“ A Treasury of Traditions, Superstitions Remedies…

    • 18 May 2018
  • The future looks rosy

    I’m sure the topic of conversation for everyone this bank holiday weekend was the amazing sunny weather we had up and down the country…. it was certainly unusual for a bank holiday weekend but very welcome. It was overflowing with people here at Lake Vyrnwy, everyone grabbing their opportunity for some fresh air and a gentle or strenuous walk in the great outdoors!


    It certainly got me thinking about how…

    • 11 May 2018
  • What & Where to find them

    Now into early May the majority of summer migrant bird species have returned to breed with many not hanging around and starting to nest build and find a mate. Each species have their preferred habitat and knowing what that is helps to find them, some more elusive than others. Another useful aid for finding these birds is their song. At this time of year the males are in full song as they look for a mate and also hold…

    • 5 May 2018
  • Forming Connections with Nature

    Human beings have waxed lyrical about how wonderful nature is throughout history; from Darwin to Dylan Thomas; Monet to Iolo Williams, we see and hear how a deep connection with nature can spark a lifetime of inspiration.

    We all seem to love being out in nature (especially when the sun is shining) and you only have to look at the faces of those around you to see it makes us feel good. So, it’s no surprise that science…

    • 27 Apr 2018
  • Its more than just numbers

    Sometimes I get the feeling that the bean counters have taken over and all the emphasis is on the numbers rather than the quality of life. Well nature doesn’t work quite like that, but there are times when we need to keep track of the numbers as well.

    One of the willow tits within the colour ringed project (by Gavin Chambers)

    Male black grouse (Archive Photo)

    We are now in that part of the annual life cycle…

    • 20 Apr 2018
  • Y Mignaint

    My attentions have changed, I now look to the north. The Mignaint sits in the centre of Snowdonia and covers an area of 200 square kilometres and has the largest area of blanket bog in Wales.

    Stonecrop by Gethin Elias

    As spring has now arrived, I spend my time on the moors. Gazing over miles and miles of empty moorland often with not a man made object in site. Listening to the melodious song of the Sky lark while…

    • 12 Apr 2018
  • Winter hanging on by a thread!

    Just as we thought spring had sprung here at Lake Vyrnwy, back came the wintry snowy showers that fell like a blanket all around us. Thankfully, it was quite short-lived and on this occasion looked absolutely beautiful and didn’t interrupt working life too much!

    A wintry Lake Vyrnwy

    It wasn’t long before the sunshine made an appearance for our annual Easter Sunday scavenger hunt reminding us all that spring…

    • 6 Apr 2018