Had what can only be described as a "stonking" day with Dan Trim on the Sunday of the Bank Holiday Weekend. Not only was it the only day of the weekend that had decent weather but I was also treated to seeing some of Wales, a country i have never seen much of before and i had my best ever views of such birds as Pied Flycatcher, Raven, Red Kite and Redstart. We began at the ungodly hour of 4.30am arriving at Lake Vyrnwy at 7.30am which wasn't bad going. What a stunning location to look around! We quickly found ourselves sitting in a hide and watching a pair of Pied Flycatcher zipping in and out, these were both mine and Dan's first ever UK Pied Flycatchers so was great to see....but they weren't really photographable due to distance and shady light conditions. However, pleased with our views we left and went for some food. The hide next to the cafe at Lake Vyrnwy gave great views of Siskin, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker amongst others and Trim even saw a Sparrowhawk dive bomb at the birds....great stuff, all watched with a bacon and sausage sarnie in hand!
After taking some nice scenery shots we left and headed for Gilfach Farm Nature Reserve hearing a Wood Warbler as we drove off, Gilfach is around 1 hour from LV. Trim's "muddy" coffee and HUGE stash of pasta kept him going as did the lovely scenery and winding country lanes, it was a lovely drive! Gilfach has had plenty of visitors of late as it's Pied Flycatchers are extremely photographable but when we got there on a lovely sunny sunday we only met a couple of other people! The farm and reserve is run by some lovely people who offered us tips on where best to go so we headed straight for the hide and then spent 2 hours watching and photographing a gorgeous pair of Pied Fly's who were constantly bringing food back to their nest, truly wonderful birds!
The hide allows amazing views of these guys and i recommend anyone to go and have a look, the river that runs beneath it also has a resident pair of Dipper that we glimpsed flying up and down, occasionally stopping under the bridge (posssibly re-setting up a nest?!). Back near the visitor centre mealworms were being placed out in a small dish hear a wall luring down Great and Blue Tits as well as Nuthatch. We'd already glimpsed a female Redstart 'running' along the roof of the visitor centre but when this stonking male popped up and came down to feed i was blown away, my first ever good view of a Redstart in full summer plumage and what a bird! Shame he didn't come much closer but i'm not complaining as it seems they do spent quite alot of time high up so i felt lucky to see him!
Pip, the guy who runs the reserve/farm wondered out as were photographing the Redstart with the promise of showing us the resident Tawny Owls, the pair had fledged 3 young recently all watched on their nest box camera which must've been amazing. After 5 minutes he came back and told us he'd found 1 of the adults quite high up, always lovely to see this guys sleeping during the daytime and Trim's first ever daytime roosting Tawny.
It was around 2.30pm by this point but the day didn't end there, we couldn't come all this way not drive the 15 minutes to Gigrin Farm to watch the Red Kites feeding, so that's exactly what we did! My next post with bombard you with Red Kite photos....once i've trawled through them!