Friday, 23 July 2010
A weekend in Powys....2nd-4th/07/2010
A long weekend in Powys was to be a real treat! We stayed at a B&B in Abercegir, Machynlleth which had been recommended by a friend. A great choice of accomodation and the B&B garden and surrounding countryside were a delight! The waters of Nant Gwydol flow alongside the long stretch of the delightful garden, Dippers are to be seen along the waters but sadly not during my stay. Pipistrelle Bats that emerged from the roof of the house at dusk more than made up for not seeing a Dipper. Our hosts were very attentive and informative, a return visit is a must sometime in the future. Red Kite, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Jay, House Sparrow, Tits, Goldfinch, Swifts, Swallows and House Martins were the highlight birds seen at the B&B, along with the Bats of course! I was told that the Kites have nested locally so that was great news to hear.
Ynslas Nature Reserve was visited before making our way to the B&B. On the way to Ynslas I spotted an Osprey perched on a telegraph pole, so the car was reversed and I was just about to take a photo when the Osprey was spooked by a car and truck coming past!! Still it was a great sight to see and unexpected!! The area I saw the Osprey in is called LLandre, so if anyone is passing that way keep them peeled.
The Dunes are a sight to see and to walk through...I felt that I was in a desert at times with the heat of the sun beating down! I found and took photo's of a pale pink Orchid in the dunes, unfortunately me or my camera played up and I do not have the photo's. My daughter is visiting the area this weekend (23-25th), so I have asked her to enquire of the species name for the Orchid, no doubt they have finished flowering now. It was a sunny but very windy day, the strong winds stayed throughout the weekend, at least it was dry as the rain fell during the night fortunately. Not a lot of birds seen at Ynslas but it was still an enjoyable walk on the dunes and beach! Birds seen were Gulls (too far away for a proper ID even through the scope), Meadow Pipit, Collared Dove, Goldfinch and House Sparrow. A Cinnabar Moth put in a brief appearance in the dunes and quite surprisingly not a single butterfly.
Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast at the B&B we set off for RSPB Ynis-hir! Speaking to the Lady volounteer in the shop she told us how quiet it was for a Saturday as normally the car park was pretty full, unusually there were only 3 or 4 cars parked. She told us about the Swallows that had nested in the Mens loo, the nest was on top of a cistern. Well it didn't take me long to get my camera out and investigate!! Lovely to see the parent Swallows swoop in to the building, feed the chicks and swoop out again...blink and you missed them! The staff had put a notice on the door asking for the door to be left open as the Swallows were nesting. Swallows had also nested in one of the hides, Breakwater hide if I remember correctly, again blink and you misssed the parents as they zoomed in and out of the hide windows. The glass had been removed from the two windows to allow continous access for the birds, great to see such good management!
RSPB Ynis-hir is a fantastic reserve with varying habitats and a two and a half hour (approx) walk to boot! There is a shorter walk of which we partook in after recovering from the long walk! The highlight birds were the Common Redstarts! I did manage a few record shots of them. Otherwise it was very quiet, maybe the gusty wind was keeping the birds low. We were told that a new boardwalk and hide was to be opened the following weekend giving access to the area where Avocets have nested. They had 10 pairs nesting and now had 37 Avocets!! Wonderful news...I just wish the hide had opened a week earlier...typical! Highlight birds seen were Common Redstart, Siskin, Chaffinch, Robin, Common Whitethroat, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Reed Bunting, Wren, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Reed Warbler, Blue & Great Tit, Oystercatcher, Mallards, Heron, Moorhen and Canada Goose. Heat haze over the Estuary made it very difficult to pick out any Gull and Wader species. Speckled Wood and Small Skipper were the only butterflies seen today. Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Darter and a Four-spotted Chaser were the Dragonflies seen. A patch of nettles looked odd and on close inspection we saw they were teeming with Black caterpillars, I have been told that they were most probably Peacock butterfly caterpillars.
I would like to visit both of the above areas in the Autumn/Winter and see the overwintering Ducks and Geese.
After refreshments and a well earned rest sat on the very long bench at the front of the Visitor Centre and watching the Siskins, Chaffinches and Robins on and around the feeders a few metres in front of us we set off for Dyfi Osprey Project a short drive away.
We were told that the Ospreys had not been seen at all today. I told them of my Osprey sighting the previous day, they were pleased to hear my news and said that they had been told of numerous sightings in the area I mentioned. The Project is only in it's second season. A female Osprey returned to the site on the 4th of April and a male returned on the 29th of June. It would be great if the pair start to breed in the future. Common Lizards were seen along the boardwalk, some being very tiny so probably newly hatched, such sweet little creatures.
It had been a brill weekend and meeting some very friendly and informative people throughout the weekend made for an enjoyable time spent in Powys.