During the last week, Neil, one of our Wardens, has been busy spending his evenings on part of the reserve known as Foel Fawr, the hillside inland of Ynys-hir viewed from the picnic benches


Not only does this provide stunning views across the lower reserve and out to the sand dunes at Ynys-las of the pretty seaside village of Aberdyfi, it is an important part of the overall jigsaw mix of habitats at Ynys-hir. However it wasn't the views that Neil was there for, but to survey for Nightjars, listening for the distinctive churring sound made by the males. His evenings were not wasted as 2 could be heard.

A lot of this area by 2014 had become densely covered in bracken. 

Churring Nightjars have been  recorded in 3 of the last 5 years, but were absent for the previous 6 years.

Ponies (hardy Welsh Cobs) were introduced to the Foel in May 2014.

We initiated bracken bruising, and began an annual programme of clearing 3 x 0.5ha “nightjar plots” in July 2014.

We think that the disruption to established bracken stands caused by the combination of bracken rolling and cutting, and extensive pony grazing, has opened up new areas of structurally diverse, tussocky, invertebrate-rich grassland. Also, there are more trees now than in previous years, of varying ages, and more decaying wood habitats available to inverts.

Prior to 2019…


1 churring male in June 2017

2 in 2015

1 in 2008

 Other news - pied flycatchers still seen along the top woodland path and the blue route out to Marian Mawr.

Spotted flycatcher with terrotory in the Ynys Edwin ridge area.

Lapwings and redshanks with chicks.

Great white egret still about. Cuckoo seen and heard. All of what you would expect to see here.

And for those of you who have visited in the last few weeks and enjoyed views from the visitor centre of the oystercatcher on their eggs on the wall outside Domenlas hide, 2 eggs hatced, one cgick seemed to disapear fairly quickly off the wall and the second chick left on Thursday morning.