This weekend I took a visit up to the RSPB reserve at Ynys-Hir for the first time in at least 18 months. The reserve is located about 10 miles inland from Aberystwyth and incorporates a range of habitats including mature woodland, estuary and peat bogs. I have never visited before whilst seriously looking, so I did not know what to expect in terms of species present.

Things got off to a good start with a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying along in front of the car on the access road. From the car park itself I could see around 15 species, including the usual tits and finches, two Jays, a hundred or so Teal and a Nuthatch. I sensed this was going to be a good day.

Heading to the first hide overlooking the estuary it became apparent that it was high tide. A very happy coincidence as the birds were as a result much closer and more concentrated. A twenty minute watch produced 20 or so Grey Plovers (a lifer for me), Dunlin, 30 Barnacle Geese, Redshank, 3 Pintail as well as both Merganserand Goosander. I can’t remember visiting a hide before and seeing such a wide variety. The only thing missing was the Great White Egret that had been seen the day before.

Elsewhere on the reserve we came across a Mistle Thrush (a bird I very rarely see) as well as a juvenile Goldeneye (I had only previously seen this on the Isle of Mull) and several Common Snipe. Living down in South Wales it was also a nice treat to see 3 Red Kites soaring over the hillsides. I can remember the days when the Kite was so rare that I had never seen one. Now they are almost a daily occurrence and their range is ever expanding. I have seen two around Swansea in recent months and I only hope that their success continues.

Sunday was a wash out, but I hope this week to get out and try and locate one of the Yellow Browed Warblers that have been spotted in the area. Here’s hoping.


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