A contented visitor remarked on leaving today that although the car parks were heaving, he hardly saw a soul all day, once he had hit the trails.
Ynys-hir is that sort of place; large, diverse and very, very interesting. So don't be put off by the throng (although they do seem a very happy bunch)
The route in from the overflow car park is a mini nature trail in itself and worth the 400 metre stroll. There is a lesser spotted woodpecker in the roadside beech, thousands of tiny toads on the path and dragonflies and grass snakes on the damp grassland.
Near the footbridge are singing whitethroats, sedge and grasshopper warblers and once in the woods, blackcaps, wood warblers and pied flycatchers will guide you into the reception.
Well, the first live broadcast of springwatch went out on the air last night and what a superb programme it was! The aerial shots of the reserve were brilliant and I particularly liked the shots of parts of the reserve taken in February and then again in May; the contrast between the bare, grey, starkness of winter and the lush green of late Spring a reminder of why this place is so special.
Photo credit: Steve Knell (rspb-images.com)
The web cam shots were a revelation in their clarity and surprising in some of the results. The buzzard with one chick seem to be voraciously eating their way through the rest of our wildlife. I can just about bear to see them eating voles, rabbits and squirrels but when you see them eating mallard ducklings,a moorhen chick and this morning a great tit you realise what fine predators they are (though if they start bringing in lapwing young my opinion will change fast!).
I hope they feature our barn owls and chicks tonight and there are a number of other web cams and mini cameras set up to show what a great variety of wildlife Ynys-hir has at this time of year. I will be glued to the T.V. tonight to see what other great footage the BBC will show.
Well, the day for the first live broadcast has finally arrived. The reserve Visitor Centre now has a live link to some of the cameras and we are able to show live pictures from the heronry, a buzzard nest, redstarts in a nest box and our barn owls with four chicks. A plethora of volunteers means we are also able to show to our visitors some of the wildlife around the reserve with timed guided springwatch walks, lots of childrens activities like pond dipping and mini-beast hunts and a craft activities tent. The weather so far has not been ideal with some heavy rain and showers so the expected influx of visitors due to the springwatch programme has yet to materialise. Once the first programme goes out I am sure the numbers will increase hugely and we have contingency plans in place, such as an overflow car park, to cope with the rush. Our Massey Ferguson tractor, along with some old tractor tyres, has been parked near to the tractor shed (the studio location) as a visual prop and we are all excited and keen to view the first programme. Fingers are crossed that it all goes to plan.