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Post Info TOPIC: Lake Vyrnwy

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RE: Lake Vyrnwy

Weekend visit to Lake Vyrnwy, first time I had been here. 

Not really a birding trip as such as far to hot, but good sightings of Raven, Red Kite, Dipper, Bullfinch, large numbers of hirundines around the Dam (mostly House Martins). 30-40 Siskin at the feeders at the Coed-y-Capel hide & at least 4 Tawny Owls calling around the hotel.


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Set off Friday for a weekend at Lake Vyrnwy, called at New Brighton on the way and dipped on the Laughing Gull so not a great start.
Landed at the hotel as the sun was setting and the only bird visible was a lone Canada Goose on the lake.
Up next morning and after a hearty breakfast we headed for the RSPB Shop, taking advice we proceeded to climb the Blue route only to be engulfed halfway round the walk by a fox hunt with hunters stationed all around he wood and a guy blowing his horn with the hounds, needless to say any self respecting bird had done one.
We went down to the Peregrine hide (Lakeside) and the Centenary hide at the far side of the lake.
Sunday we had a stroll through the Sculpture Park and a mooch around the picnic area on the far side of the lake.

Over the day and a half we saw 35 birds and heard one other which was a pleasant surprise as we were so high up surrounded by hill and forest.
Grey Wagtail
Pied Wagtail
Willow Tit
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Long Tailed Tit
Coal Tit
House Sparrow
Mistle Thrush
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Red Kite
Carrion Crow
Canada Goose
Gold credit

Tawny Owl (Heard)

Sadly no Goshawk or Peregrine.
I was surprised there were no Rook or Jackdaw and the only three waterfowl we saw on that massive expanse of water was the Canada Goose and two Mallard.

The place is fabulous for the scenery and the walks the birds an added bonus.




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with Austin Morley:

Reached this lovely place at about 9am. The views were stunning (though the mist worried us as it seemed too dreary and not sunny enough to have a good chance of seeing goshawk)

For anyone who claims the birds at RSPB reserves are too far away...please visit Vyrnwy, the feeders were inches away from the carpark hide, with birds such as siskin and nuthatch actually having to perch on the hide windowsills to wait their turn to fit on amongst what must have been 100s of chaffinches. Most of the common feeder birds made an appearance - the definite highlight for me was great views (and photos) of male siskin.

Then we (on advice from Doc Brewster and having read Sid's post below- cheers guys) took the blue trail which was a reasonably strenuous walk I thought but definitely worth it. The mist hadn't cleared but singing goldcrest, chiffchaff and a pair of ravens overhead provided a nice distraction. Great views of all three.
Then Austin picked up a raptor very high and distant - I only got onto it when it was incredibly distant and in the mist but in silhouette I felt 90% sure it was a goshawk - too big and barrel-chested for sparrowhawk, but not the right shape for buzzard. It was, however, one of those frustrating doubt-filled views, so we continued.
It was quite near the end of the blue trail just before we were getting to some field with sheep when I saw a bird flying very low just in front of us. The area is very wooded so only a split-second view, but enough for me to claim, fairly confidently, that it was large raptor. I persuaded the guys to hang around the area for a while and for once I made the right call!

The comparative non-birder with us, Matt, pointed out a hawk going over us a few minutes later - this time a 1 second view was enough to positively id the bird as a goshawk - the striking white undertail coverts and barrel chest were very noticeable. So we hung around and then got a 30s view of a bird (which I though was larger than the first so may have been a second individual) soaring and circling over a field - all id features visible, see pictures on Austin's blog - what a stunner!

Sorry for long post but hopefully gives anyone going a good idea of where to spot these birds.

Thanks again Austin smile


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John Barber and I visited the lake today specifically to look for the well publicised Goshawks. We weren't disappointed having several sightings of both males and females. Not being sure where to start looking we were pointed in the direction of one of the woodland walks, the blue trail, by the local RSPB folk. This is an approximate three mile walk at the southern end of the lake along forest tracks and has a couple of fairly strenuous climbs. About half way round we had overhead views of a couple of the birds as well as some a little more distant over the forest.


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Our first visit to Lake Vyrnwy, and hopefully not our last, what a stunning, tranquil place this is. We stayed at the Gorffwysfa guest house, which roughly translated means peaceful resting place. The lake itself is a flooded valley, with a victorian picturesque dam and tower at one end, and a waterfall at the other, with coniferous and mature woodland filling in . Birds seen :-

Good numbers of hirrundine around the dam, ridiculously high numbers of siskin, particularly around the visitors centre, also around the feeders were redpoll and juvenile greater spotted woodpecker. A pair of spotted flycatchers were feeding young at nest site in the sculpture park. A family party of jays, a juvenile pied flycatcher and a dipper also around the sculpture park and river. Here a Green woodpecker was heard only, and a treecreeper was spotted sunbathing. Chiffchaff and willow warbler were ubiquitous all over the valley. Good numbers of buzzard, and 2 noisy ravens were spotted on a walk higher up the valley, but sadly no positive ID of any goshawks

Definitely worth a visit, but remember to pack the midge repellent.

-- Edited by David Duncan on Monday 8th of July 2013 05:13:44 PM

-- Edited by David Duncan on Tuesday 9th of July 2013 08:29:44 AM


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Was up there ystrdy got views of a female and a displaying male. Also a brambling at feeder hide.


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Annual visit to Vyrnwy to see the Goshawks and had excellent views of a displaying pair. En route stopped at Worlds End, where 32 Black Grouse were counted at three lekking sites.

Cheers David

-- Edited by DavidBowman on Saturday 6th of April 2013 06:30:18 PM


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On Friday, spent the morning raptor watching, fisrt at at the pic-nic area and then from The balcony of the Vyrnwy Hotel. Five sightings of Goshawk, both male and female, including a male beating up a Raven and then flying over the hotel. Other good sightings included Red Kite and Peregrine mobbing Hen Harrier and Buzzard. Checked out the path to the Centenary Hide, where a male Pied Flycatcher was in song.

Cheers David

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