Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Friday, 30 April 2010

April 30th Ospreys and Otters

Let's say it straight away - the otter at Ynys Hir died on sunday night. Dick, the site manager did everything he could for her but a collision with a train didn't leave the poor animal with much chance.

So, now on the road adjacent to Snowdon and hoping that the rainy weather improves so that I can get up there tomorrow without getting too wet. Have just come away from the fabulous osprey viewing hide and display run by the RSPB at Glaswyn, nr Porthmadoc. The male was on the nest when I left. Please if you can visit the centre just north of Porthmadoc and have a look for yourself. The staff there, Geraint, Stuart, Kate and many other very lovely and dedicated people will make you very welcome and tv screens show what's happening on the nest.

Right since leaving Dolgellau I've seen hawfinch, lesser whitethroat and ospreys for the year list, which now stands on 185.

I've also visited Harlech Castle and Portmerion [I am not a number I am a FREE MAN] and seen a beautiful burial chamber at Dyffryn, half way between Barmouth and Harlech. The lucky school children of the Primary school there that have this fabulous prehistoric site in their playground. Two large cromlechs {?} and stones surrounding them.

The weather has changed from sunny and warm to rainy and warm but at least there's little or no wind.

Now for the RSPB reserves visited :

1. Coed Garth Gell - after meeting Irmeli from Finland and her friend Suzanna from Hungary [2 lovely girls who insisted I finished off their cheese baps - thanks girls, lovely to meet you. All the best], went and hid the bike in the wood and circled it on the green path. Very few birds but the evening walk was pleasant because I had the company of an Australian girl, over here working with her boyfriend but now out walking the dog. Sarah was from Sydney and I thank her for the chat. 3 lovely girls in an hour - things are looking up. Birds - willow warbler, blackcap, house martins and a raven were most noteworthy but more spectacular were the views over to Cadair Idris range across the estuary. Well worth visiting the reserve for the views alone. Wonderful.

2. Other Mawdacch Valley reserves - The viewpoint by the old wooden toll bridge, which I was kindly allowed to cross for free, had 4 red-breasted mergansers by it, 3 were males. Also common sandpiper here. By the Youth Hostel there were 2 small woodland reserves and an early morning [5.00am] walk gave me dipper, pied fly', wood warbler, redstart, ravens and drumming great-spot woodpecker but still no lesser spotted woodpecker, which is turning into the bogey bird of the tour.

3. Cors Arthog Bog - blackcap, willow warbler and a good number of mostly male orange tipped butterflies and green-veined whites here.

4. The Migneint - not seen because of very thick cloud cover. I've attempted to do a Youtube video here to show you what it looks like but not sure the download worked. Heard wheatear, stonechat, meadow pipits, skylark and corvids but saw almost none of them. Thought up the words to a new song to the tune of 'In the Midnight Hour' by Billy Idol - In the Migneint mist I cried More, More, More. Just to see some birds I cried More, More More etc.

5. glaswyn Osprey viewpoint - osprey pair seen through telescopes there and on the tv screens. Also saw red-breasted mergansers, goldeneye, an injured whooper swan, whitethroat, hirundines and a fabulous close peregrine. Also an otter went in front of the hide at 8.00pm. Great to watch her hunt for 15 minutes or so in the pool like area beneath the weir.

OK time to go.

Off up Snowdon tomorrow and then to Morfa Dintlle before Anglesey.

All the best everyone.

Gary x

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