13 Mar 2024

Wildlife Highlights – Spring is arriving

Conservation Volunteers

This year one of the tasks the Conservation group has set itself is to monitor bird nesting sites using the survey that Richard Pryce did for the Heritage Project in 2015/16. To help us do this we are using the Merlin bird app which identifies bird songs, really accurately as we have been finding out, though up until this week the only birds heard singing in the Garden have been Robins, lots of them and the occasional Blue Tit. But this week was different.  Myself, Dafydd, Chris and Peter set out to Spring Woods and went around Pyll Yr Ardd and the three lakes and this is what we heard and saw.

Tremella mesentarica – Yellow Brain. Peter Williams

The first surprise was in Spring Woods where Merlin identified a Tree Creeper, and of course Robins.  Chris and Dafydd spotted a Jay in the woods beyond the Ice House and about 5 Fieldfares flying over. Then on to the Aqualab Woods where Merlin really came up trumps.  First was a Wren, then a Redwing which we were able to confirm visually, Robins, of course, Blackcap, Greenfinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Marsh Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Song Thrush, Blackbird.  Definitely a few we would have missed.

Nephroma resupiinatum – Pimpled Kidney lichen. Peter Williams

Moving on around Llyn Uchaf where there were obviously quite a few Mallards, and we also saw three Gadwall, and Chris and Dafydd spotted a Raven flying over and landing in the Grasslands.  Then on around Llyn Canol to Waun Las Bridge where we saw two Dippers flying around nearby.

Finally on to Llyn Mawr and the areas around it where Merlin again helped us greatly identifying the following.

Sarcoscypha sp. – Elf cap. David Jones

Robins, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mallard, Crow, Magpie, Buzzard, Wren, Long-Tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Nuthatch,  Blackbird and possibly a lonely, lost House Sparrow.  It also came up with a Great Black-backed Gull which could have been one travelling through though more like to have been squawk from a Crow!

Stereum rugosum – Broadleaf Bleedin Crust. Peter Williams

Dafydd also counted 20+ Mallards at one time, all on the surface of Llyn Mawr.  Many others were doing fly pasts as well as maybe 6 or 7 Teal and probably more flying back and forth, 3 Gadwall and at least 4 Moorhen.  Of the Mallards there were a group of 11 Drakes parading around together, maybe a courtship ritual of some sort though there didn’t seem to be any Ducks nearby.

As well as all this bird activity, Marie, Gary and Ruth were busy digitising the Tree books in the Science Block, Howard was out in Cae Derwen with water half-way up his wellies, Angela and Nicky were investigating Badger trails and Peter was off Fungi hunting producing these beautiful photos.