• Migrant birds and bony plants...

    With the increase in temperature, most of the regular migrants have been accounted for over the past month, including pied flycatcher, redstart, whitethroat, cuckoo, sedge warbler, grasshopper warbler, garden warbler, and swallow among others. The reserve (and the woodlands in particular) resounds with birdsong, and having a good ear for songs and calls (something I'm still practising) is more useful than ever at this…

    • 3 May 2017
  • Spring arrivals

    A wealth of sightings for you as Spring gleefully unravels it's way into the seasonal procession. We seem to be hearing more and more singing chiffchaffs on a daily basis, and the reserve has also recorded it's first wheatears and sand martins of the year. There is much to be seen still on the raptor front as well, with one of the Dyfi ospreys (Blue24) returning on the 24th, and the continued presence of hen harriers…

    • 29 Mar 2017
  • Storm Doris and the approaching Spring

    Ynys-hir has had it's fair share of the recent gull activity in the county, with a 1st winter glaucous gull on the 26th, as well as first winter and adult little gulls on the 23rd, which associated with the black headed gulls and fed on the river whilst avoiding the worst of Storm Doris. In Europe, little gulls typically breed on freshwater marshes in the Baltic states and Scandinavia, wintering in coastal areas along…

    • 1 Mar 2017
  • Show the love

    A scattering of interesting sightings over the past few weeks, including an unconfirmed report of a great grey shrike near Domen Las, flyover crossbills near the visitor centre on the 2nd, and a brambling on the 7th near the feeders.  Of particular note, lesser spotted woodpecker activity appears to have increased recently, and it is definitely worth keeping an eye out for them calling, drumming, and busily foraging, especially…

    • 10 Feb 2017
  • Big Garden Birdwatch

    Welcome back, and a happy new year to all! January again, and time for another Big Garden Birdwatch. This year it runs from the 28th-30th January, and you can register to take part - as well as find all the information you need - on the RSPB's website http://bit.ly/2g4ua6f. In preperation, Ynys-hir  is running an event on the 22nd from 11am-3pm at which you can make bird cake and swot up on garden bird ID, and handily…

    • 13 Jan 2017
  • Mixed seasons....

    Mid-December and the weather has become truly unseasonal. Whilst many winter visitors remain on the reserve, the milder conditions mean my walks home are accompanied by bats. Lake Vyrnwy has been reporting them as well, and I recently saw some active in broad daylight in Dolgellau, so I'd be interested to know how widespread this emergence is. Some homework for me.

    About those winter visitors. The great white egret…

    • 14 Dec 2016
  • Recent sightings 16/11/2016

    The woodlands at Ynys-hir have looked spectacularly autumnal over the past couple of weeks as the leaves turn, a much appreciated dash of colour as we wait for temperatures to drop and bring in large numbers of wintering wildfowl and waders. Sightings of note include a female long tailed duck on Marian Mawr pools, first spotted on the 11th, and still present on the 16th. A very scarce visitor to the area, a quick browse…

    • 16 Nov 2016
  • Recent sightings 27/10/16

    No doubt many of you will be aware of a red breasted goose on the reserve recently, which continues to be present at the time of writing. Having appeared to arrive with the feral Barnacles from Cumbria, it seems unlikely to be a wild bird. WeBS count on the 18th recorded 51 lapwing, 550 teal, 459 wigeon, 2 green sandpiper, 1 spotted redshank, 31 pintail, and 14 shoveler, amongst others. A whooper swan on Breakwater on…

    • 27 Oct 2016
  • Breakwater hide closure

    The following message is from Dave Anning, site manager.

    I am sad to say that we have had to close the Breakwater hide at RSPB Ynys-hir. We appreciate that this hide is very popular with local bird watchers and the decision to close it was not taken lightly. For several years now we have been monitoring the condition of the hide closely and in our most recent inspection new signs of rot and subsidence were found and…

    • 18 Oct 2016
  • Recent sightings 12/10/2016

    October began with an astonishingly insightful fungi walk on the 2nd, lead by Ray Woods. Although unfortunately not many fungi were located (general consensus seems to be that this year will prove a poor one for seeing fruiting bodies), we did find chicken in the woods, turkey tail, hairy curtain crust, glue fungus, dead man’s fingers, and oysterling, among other species. Of particular interest was the discovery of…

    • 12 Oct 2016
  • The Cwm yr Esgob oak

    Before the next recent sightings entry, a shameless plug. The Cwm yr Esgob oak, at RSPB Carngafallt, Rhayader, has been nominated for the Woodland Trust Wales' Tree of the Year Award. It is a wonderful tree, thought to be at least half a century old, and boasts many classic features of veterans, of which a rather large rowan air tree is perhaps the most immediately striking. I urge you to vote for it! For more details…

    • 5 Oct 2016
  • Recent sightings 26/09/16

    Ceredigion Moths were back with us on the 11th this month, trapping some of the more autumnal species such as pink-barred sallow, centre-barred sallow, and frosted orange, which gave a seasonal feel to the session. Other species included; copper underwing, common marbled carpet, angle shades, pinion-streaked snout, canary-shouldered thorn, September thorn, flame carpet, gold spot, small phoenix, spruce carpet, and rosy…

    • 26 Sep 2016
  • Recent sightings: August 2016

    Hello all,

    Welcome back to the Ynys-hir recent sightings blog. Over the next 10 months Ryan and I (the new residential interns) will aim to provide fortnightly updates on wildlife activity at the reserve.

    We start with the Big Wild Sleep Out event, which began on Saturday 30th July with an evening walk lead by Dave Anning in a glorious low sun. The following morning Ceredigion Moths ran a number of traps for the campers…

    • 6 Sep 2016
  • New life bursting forth...

    It's the time of year when everywhere around the reserve springs into life! Seasonal highlights include the migrant songbirds which have been wonderfully active, giving visitors great views. After their unexplained absence last year wood warblers have returned en masse, singing from all corners of the reserve, it’s a joy to have them back again.

    The estate team are seeing their efforts rewarded after spending…

    • 14 Jun 2016
  • A confusion of Seasons!

    As I write this up it is on a day when we have seen everything from hail, snow and now sunshine, truly a mixed bag of weather for the end of April. It is also an interesting time for the birds, we now have all the expected summer migrants here (including pied flycatchers, redstarts, wood warblers, willow warblers, chiff-chaff, black cap, grasshopper warblers etc) apart from spotted flycatchers, which are always a little…

    • 27 Apr 2016
  • Visitor Centre

    Just to let you know, our Visitor Center will be closed for 2 days, Tuesday November 3rd and Wednesday November 4th 2015.

    Don't let that put you off a visit, the reserve will be open as usual - well worth a visit, stunning at the moment, and as already posted, waders showing well.

    • 2 Nov 2015
  • Autumn High Tides - Come and see the Waders!

    RSPB Ynys-hir: Autumn high tides over the last couple of days and the first of the Wetland Bird Surveys (WEBS) Dave our Site manager has the reserve section to count and here are some of his highlights seen from Ynys Feurig hide where we have recently being undertaking work to extend the scrape and pool area. 
    1100 teal, 320 curlew, 82 redshank, 77 dunlin 2 greenshank and a spotted redshank. The high tides continue over…

    • 31 Oct 2015
  • Seasonal changes...

    The last few weeks the weather has been stunningly beautiful here in Mid Wales, marking the return of children to school and the change of season from summer to autumn. Many things happen on the reserve at this time of year – we have said” goodbye” and “bon voyage” to Joe and Christelle, our 6 month summer interns who head off to Lake Vyrnwy reserve,  and welcome Roz and Dave who will be with…

    • 15 Oct 2015
  • Stunning Invertebrates in Ynys-hir

    It has been a long time since I published a post on the blog. Internet connection issues and a nice holiday kept me away from it but now I am back and it is great. The conservation team has been busy mainly doing practical work, maintaining the estate but that is not all. At the same time we got the chance to observe a great variety of wildlife. Birds are mostly finished  with their job of raising young: most of  the chicks…

    • 19 Aug 2015
  • 8th - 14th of June 2015

    Last week, the Conservation team completed varied tasks. 

    - The third round of nest box surveying has started. Pied-Flycatcher chicks now have long feathers as you can see on the photo below. A bit more patience and soon we will know the overall numbers of nesting birds in the nest boxes for this season, in terms of species and productivity.

    Pied Flycatcher chicks (Ficedula hypoleuca)


    - Due to poor weather conditions…

    • 17 Jun 2015
  • 1st - 7th of Jaune 2015

    This last week the volunteers mainly worked on the estate maintenance. We however managed to spot some great wild life :

    Wet grassland – Penrhyn Gerwen

    Yellow-rattle is flowering. Some fields are displaying yellow flashes. The Yellow-rattle is an indicator of unimproved grassland. As it is semi-parasitic onto grasses, it promotes broader-leaved grasses diversity.

    Yellow-rattle (Rhinanthus minor)

    The raised…

    • 9 Jun 2015
  • 25th - 31st of May 2015

    - Round number two of the nest box survey is over.  The Blue and Great Tits are growing up.  Most of them now have long feathers although some younger ones in pins have been observed.

    Great Tit (Parus major) chicks

    Important information has been collected during this second round of nest box surveys: Redstarts are nesting!  A female has been spotted flying out of a box with eggs in it. We will have to wait a bit longer…

    • 2 Jun 2015
  • 18th - 24th of May

    - Every nest box has been checked once and the second round has started this week!  At the end of the season every nest box will have been checked at least three times.  The Great and Blue Tit chicks are developing and the Pied Flycatchers are still incubating their eggs.

    Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) chicks.


    - On Lodge Farm, the electric fence has been adjusted to allow Lapwing chicks to move from field to field…

    • 24 May 2015
  • 11th - 17th of May 2015

    - The nest box survey has started!

    Over the breeding season, 297 nest boxes will be monitored. Most boxes shelter blue or great tit eggs or even chicks. The eggs are white with brownish spots. The chicks mostly blind and naked will start to develop feathers this week. On average, blue and great tits produce 7 to 13 eggs and incubation time lasts between 12 and 16 days.

    Blue or great tit eggs


    Tit chicks, still…

    • 18 May 2015
  • Ynys-hir through the new interns' eyes

    The last two months have been busy for the new interns: Joe and myself. It definitely is the best time to discover the reserve: spring has sprung!

    The woods are now really colourful with bluebells, red campions, wood anemones, wood sorrel and greater stitchwort. The redstarts and pied flycatchers can be heard singing and like all other birds, they are busy getting their nests sorted.


    Carpets of bluebells, indicator…

    • 7 May 2015