Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Birds from a hide, and help us track down Ravens!

Recently I spent some hours in a hide at Aberogwen (The Spinnies), the North Wales Wildlife Trust reserve just across the Ogwen from Penrhyn Park near Bangor. Trust members man the hide once a month over high tide, to chat to visitors and help them identify birds on the reserve and out on the estuary.
We had 49 visitors while we were there, from as far away as Hertfordshire, Oxford area and Chester, also many locals including the family from the farm across the road! Everyone hoped to see a kingfisher, but it didn’t show up. Maybe the very cold weather in December and January did for it. Luckily other key birds like water rail and greenshank did appear, along with bullfinches (2 pairs), mergansers, goldeneye ducks (30 of these) and other usual denizens (39 species in all). Our key volunteer Richard provides all the bird feeders and fills them up ready for the weekend. We all enjoyed very close views of birds on the feeders, including a great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, long-tailed tits and six greenfinches. A handsome squirrel didn’t cause too much trouble.
Our next hide session at Aberogwen is on March 5th, 11am – 3pm.

Fieldwork for the BTO Winter Atlas 2007-11 finishes at the end of this month, and the final period for the Breeding Atlas starts in April. So we have March off! However mid-March onwards is an excellent time for spotting raven nests, because this species is a very early breeder. We’d love to hear about occupied raven nests in North Wales, with date and locality (grid reference if possible). You could ring through the details on 01248 681936 (please leave your name and phone number), or email the Natur Cymru office and ask Mandy to forward on to me. Many thanks.

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