Fledged birds seem to be everywhere now and some birds are far easier to see than usual with redstart families feeding frantically throughout the woodlands. Great spotted woodpeckers have been bringing their young close to our bird feeder, a lesser spotted woodpecker was seen very close to our tractor shed and a green woodpecker (now very scarce here) has been heard waffling in the woodlands. A suprise yesterday was a great white egret which spent many hours feeding on a small pool, occasionally squabbling with the two grey herons also fishing there.
...you will be struck by how quiet it is. Most of our woodland birds seem to have fledged young and have disappeared into the canopy-very different from last week when birds seemed to be everywhere. However, craning ones neck to look up to the canopy does have it's advantages; I would have never seen this chicken of the woods fungus otherwise.
During the three weeks we have been host to BBC Springwatch we've been running four “Springwatch Tours” a day. These have proved to be very popular with our visitors, with over 900 participants in total. Visitors met at the picnic tables looking out over stunning backdrop of our pools and one of the mountainous parts of the reserve, Y Foel. Here the tour guide (over 10 staff and volunteers took on this role at different times!) explained the reserve’s history and revealed the full extent of our habitats here. We would then head out to our tractor shed, which, thanks to a magical makeover in 2011, had become the Springwatch studio for three weeks. Depending on the BBC schedule visitors would either explore the studio, have pictures taken on the veranda, or watch the presenters rehearse for the evening show. Some even got their photos taken with the Springwatch team, who were always friendly and smiling.
After seeing the studio we would then head out to see some of the stars of the reserve – namely the summer birds and other wildlife we were lucky enough to see. During the three weeks of tours we watched as two pied flycatcher and redstart nests all successfully fledged young.
Other sightings included spotted flycatcher, nuthatch, treecreeper, blackcap, garden warbler, great spotted woodpecker, heron, red kite, buzzard, kingfisher and, during the warm afternoons, an abundance of large red and common blue damselflies and four spotted chaser dragonflies. One group happened upon a grass snake eating a frog, and another saw the male osprey Monty catching a fish from the river. Most days we were lucky with the weather, but tours went out even on rainy days – when visitors got closer to the swallows, martins and swifts swooping low to catch the midges!
A glimpse inside the Springwatch studio, at other times of the year the Ynys-hir tractor shed.
The woodcarvings on the presenters' bench, showing up brightly in the rain.
One of the large cameras used on the programme, headed out to Heron Point.
Marsh cam in action!
Michaela, Chris and Martin in rehearsals.
One of Ynys-hir's star spring species, the pied flycatcher, poking its head out of its nest. This pair fledged at least three chicks.