Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

April 27th Dolgellau - Have been to Ynys-Hir and Lake Vyrnwy RSPB reserves

At last found a library open in Wales and at £1 an hour I'll pay it!

A fantastic last 4 days and now up to 182 on the year list.
New birds for the year : wood warbler, sedge warbler, whitethroat, reed warbler and whimbrel at Ynys Hir with ring ouzel [sorry Graham!] and whinchat at Lake Vyrnwy.

People met and thanks to them include :- best mate Gez, his wife Jude and Leiya [how do you spell it?]; friends who have a caravan at Ynys Hir luckily for me. Thanks for the meal and donuts. Also Dave Anning the warden at Ynys Hir, luck again to meet him as I'd arrived a day before schedule and he was away the next day. thanks for the info' Dave! Met the manager at Ynys Hir but under sad circumstances. On the early morning walk around the reserve on Saturday the 24th saw a what I thought was a dead otter on the railway track. Suddenly it moved! So i collected it and took it to the centre. I'm awaiting a phone call from Dick, the manager to say whether it survived. Honestly though things didn't look good for her, an adult female. Let's be honest if an otter allows one to pick it up, it's in a bad way. Met the warden of the Machynleth Osprey Project, unfortunatley briefly as I was rushing to see the Villa beat the sad blue noses. What a fabulous set up at the reserve just west of the town and let's hope the female seen gets a male soon.

Speaking of the Villa beating Blues [thought I'd say it again - another 6 points from them for us], thanks to the Macynleth Bowling Club for shandy and tele. Great place with great people as most people are.

A big thanks to Mike Walker, warden of lake Vyrnwy and his team including Gary [what a character!], Graham, Mike Morris [Up the Vale!] and Roger [thanks for the coffee]. I do hope that Graham saw the ring ouzel at the barns - like I did today, together with a whinchat. Smashing. I also hope for gary's sake that the peregrine returns to the peregrine watchpoint - soon to be renamed to 'let's have a look at anything watchpoint. Mind you folks it's worth going to this viewpoint even if the pergrines are on vacation elsewhere because the human company is so brilliant. Gary, the personal meeting people manager is a fabulous bloke from the smoke and together with Graham, a volunteer and 'another great bloke but I didn't write down his name - blast old age memory, and just going to the hide set up is a worthwhile experience. You'll have an informative good time with lots of laughs to boot.

Right, 4 mornings of up for the dawn chorus at 5.00am each morning and lots of walking around 2 crown jewel reserves. I have always loved the Ynys Hir reserve; great birds and beautiful views including one of my top 5 reserve hides in the wood there that looks out over the canopy and estuary. Now though Lake Vyrnwy is joining Ynys as a favourite. Indeed Gwenffrwd-Dinas, Ynys and Vyrnwy are three fantastic reserves and ones that the RSPB should be very proud of.

Speaking of hides, have a look in the hide closest to the shop at Vyrnwy. You'll never get closer to siskins than in there, where large glass windows and comfy plastic chairs look out at feeders only a foot from the glass. The birds don't mind people at all and the siskins are joined by 3 titmice sp. nuthatch and great spotted woodpeckers. Brilliant!

Other highlights, other than the year ticks and views [have a look along the lake at Vrnwy] were goshawk and grasshopper warblers; the former at Vyrnwy with one grasshopper and three groppers at Ynys. Also some butterflies at last; brimstone, orange tip, speckled woods and green-viened whites and also large red damselflies at Ynys.

So now for the woods around Dolgellau. Youth hostel tonight with the famous Youth hostel breakfast to start the day off tomorrow. Then over the estuary to barmouth and off to Harlech Castle. Up onto the Migneint as well before paying my respects to The Prisoner [Be seeing you number 6] at Portmerion.

No rest for the wicked and lots of miles and birds to see.

Must mention Matthew and Pippa from the University of York. Met the today up on the moor above Vyrnwy laying down crane fly traps [tipula sp]. 2 enthusiastic young biologists out there doing the work. Fascinating information that i must look up on the 'net when I;ve got time.

And finally thanks Des from Pontypridd, for the look at the OS map, the hotel and hostel details and the chat.

So onward, resplendent with the new collecting can [so please fill it folks!].

All the best and love to everyone,


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