Ynis Hir 12th May 2019

For the trip to Ynys-hir we had a smaller coach as access to the reserve was rather tricky. The reserve is situated beside the Dyfi estuary in Ceredigion between Aberystwth and Machynlleth. The trip was fully booked but luckily for John who arrived but was not on Steve’s list there was one lady who had to cancel so there was a spare seat.
Our coach arrived on time with a lady driver who has driven us on a previous occasion. She was a good smooth driver and manoeuvred the coach beautifully round the tight corners and the country lanes. The only complaint was the coach was too hot and couldn’t be cooled down for some reason.

We set off on time from Wilmslow on a beautiful sunny morning, even though the temperature was only about 6C whilst waiting for the coach.


We arrived at the reserve but before we reached the Visitor Centre we were greeted by the song of the, I am told, rare Wood Warbler. Everybody immediately was quiet and waited for a view of the bird. Eventually someone managed to spot it and we all had good views which was very exciting. We continued on to the Visitor Centre and again before we arrived we saw a male Pied Flycatcher perched on a tree trunk. It was very obliging and kept posing for us. Eventually we arrived at the Visitor Centre where we saw a Siskin and a Nuthatch on a huge feeder. Finally we made it into the Centre where the warden informed us of what had been seen and where and also provided everyone with a map.


The group split into several small groups all going their different routes round the reserve. We took the Saltmarsh Trail passing a beautiful Dragonfly sculpture and a huge bug hotel. A good favourite, the Robin was seen and heard and two herons were seen on the pond. Carrying on we heard a Garden Warbler and several saw the Greater Spotted Woodpecker in a tree and then flying off. On the boardwalk there were lots of dead-looking trees. A male Stonechat was heard but difficult to spot with binoculars but easy through the scope. A Raven was seen and heard at the top of a tree and later seen flying. On the way to the Ynys Feurig hide we were all trying to spot the elusive Redpoll. I saw one in the greenery by the boardwalk with the help of John who pointed out the red on the top of its head. We think it was nesting there as it kept appearing with grass and other bits in its beak. Also I saw a Wren in the undergrowth near the hide.


We continued on to the hide overlooking the pond where we spotted a Lapwing with 3 chicks, a Barnacle Goose, and some members were lucky enough to see the Cuckoo fly past right in front of the hide. Moving on a Willow Warbler and Tree Pipit were seen. We continued on up through the woodland in the hope of seeing the Redstart. Unfortunately it was heard but not seen. On the way to the Marian Maw hide we saw a pair of Pied Flycatchers. Lovely to watch flitting in and out of the branches. At the hide Canada Geese, Moorhen, a Cormorant flying, Redshanks and Shelducks were seen. A Goosander was spotted near the bank and when she moved away she was followed by 9 young ones.


Jenny & Ian decided to leave our group and were lucky to spot the Osprey, Cuckoo and heard the Cetti’s Warbler. Also they saw a Mistle Thrush with a rather large twig in its beak.
As we were walking round, the Cuckoo was very vocal but unseen but several Buzzards were spotted on the thermals. Lots of butterflies - Brimstones, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Small Copper, and an Orange Tip were about most of the day. Chiffchaffs, Pheasants, Tits, Chaffinch and the regular birds were seen and heard. A grass snake was also seen to slither away into the undergrowth.


On the way to look at the Saltings Hide a Little Egret was spotted and then 3 more came into view. We didn’t make it to the hide as time was getting short. Some members who did get there were lucky to see a Spoonbill roosting by the pool before it flew away towards the estuary.

Too soon it was time to leave and head home. Whilst waiting to set off some of the ladies sitting on the bus saw the Osprey flying over. Unfortunately I missed it again but I did see a Buzzard in the trees by the motorway.

Ynys-hir is a beautiful reserve. I have never known the time go so quickly and to see so much. In total 70 species were seen. A fabulous day for the birds, the weather and the company.

Photos by Robert D

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