Trip report - mid and north Wales

09th May 2011
Dates: 5th to 8th May 2011

Destination: mid and north Wales

Purpose of trip:

The purpose of my trip was my annual visit to the region to see bird species that are not found on a regular basis in Essex or East Anglia, particularly summer migrants.

Primary target areas:

The primary target areas for birdwatching were:

Dinas RSPB reserve

Elan valley

Ynys-hir RSPB reserve

Lake Vyrnwy RSPB reserve

Nant Ffrancon valley, Snowdonia

South Stack RSPB reserve, Anglesey

Getting there and getting around:

I used a rental car for the whole trip.

I stayed overnight at the following camp sites:

Camp site just north of Rhandirmwyn in the upper Tywi valley. This site was a simple camping field next to the River Tywi with singing Wood Warbler, Common Redstart and Cuckoo on arrival and calling Tawny Owls after dark.

Camp site near Pennal in the Dyfi valley .... Gwerniago Farm This small farm campsite again had the benefit of calling Tawny Owls after dark plus telescope views of the Cors Dyfi reserve with nesting Ospreys!

Camp site near Capel Curig .... Dolgam

This is a summary of my itinerary and route:

5th May 2011: Home – Llandovery – Rhandirmwyn

6th May 2011: Dinas RSPB reserve – upper Tywi valley – Llyn Brianne – Rhayader – Gilfach RWT reserve – Elan valley – Cwmystwyth – Devils Bridge – Nant-y-Moch – Machynlleth – Aberdovey – Cregennan Lakes – Dolgellau – Pennal

7th May 2011: Ynys-hir RSPB reserve – Cors Dyfi MWT reserve – Dinas Mawddwy – Lake Vyrnwy RSPB reserve – Bala – Betws-y-Coed – Capel Curig – Nant Ffrancon

8th May 2011: Nant Ffrancon – Bedmannarch Bay – South Stack RSPB reserve – Penmon – Aber Ogwen – Conwy – Chester – Manchester

9th May 2011: Manchester – home


The weather was extremely mixed although fortunately it did include some warm and sunny periods with most of the heavy rain at night.


During my short trip, I recorded 85 species of birds, of which 19 were first records for 2011, plus I also recorded Grey Squirrel, Rabbit and wild/feral Mountain Goat.

The following summarises the notable bird species seen on my trip:

Travelling to Rhandirmwyn: Red Kite (11) and Common Buzzard (6) between J4 and J8 of the M40, Red Kite on the Gloucestershire/Herefordshire border, Red Kite near Llandovery

Dinas RSPB reserve: Pied Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Wood Warbler, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Grey Wagtail, Cuckoo, Common Buzzard, Raven

Dinas RSPB reserve to Rhayader: Wheatear, Whinchat, Common Redstart, Willow Warbler, Tree Pipit, Cuckoo, Swallow, Swift, Siskin, Red Kite (including 1 over Rhayader town centre), Common Buzzard

Elan valley: Wheatear, Whinchat, Willow Warbler, Swallow, House Marin, Sand Martin, Common Buzzard, Red Kite (11)

Cymystwyth-Devils Bridge area: Red Kite (3)

Ponterwyd to Tal-y-bont via Nant-y-Moch: Wheatear, Swift, Red Kite, Common Buzzard

Borth: Manx Shearwater (c.150), Gannet (2)

Ynys-hir RSPB reserve: Pied Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Wood Warbler, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Grasshopper Warbler (heard reeling only), Spotted Flycatcher, Swallow

Cors Dyfi MWT reserve: Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting

Dinas Mawddwy to Lake Vyrnwy RSPB reserve: Wheatear

Lake Vyrnwy RSPB reserve to Bala: Wheatear, Common Redstart, Willow Warbler, Tree Pipit, Hen Harrier, Grey Wagtail, Goosander

Nant Ffrancon valley: Wheatear, Common Redstart, Willow Warbler, Cuckoo, Raven (unfortunately no Ring Ousel at the usual site this year)

Nant Ffrancon to Holyhead: Common Buzzard

Bedmannarch Bay: Sandwich Tern plus resident and passage waders .... Dunlin (large summer plumaged flock), Sanderling, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover

South Stack RSPB reserve: Chough (5), Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill, Fulmar, Stonechat, Linnet, Raven

Penmon: Sandwich Tern, Red-breasted Merganser

Aber Ogwen: Common Eider, Little Egret

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