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Wildlife in the Dyfi Biosphere

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Wales' best kept secret

Wildlife highlights

Pine Martin
Reintroduction

In 2015 and 2016 pine martens were relocated from Scotland to the Cwm Rheidol valley near Devils Bridge. They are successfully breeding and travelling through the area and can be spotted if you're lucky!

Bluebells, Dyfi Biosphere, Wales
Spring

There is cotton grass on cors fochno and you may spot the common lizard, sand lizard, adder,  grass snake, skylark, linnet, stonechat and grasshopper warbler on Ynyslas Dunes. In the woodlands, the bluebells are stunning. The RSPB reserve supports breeding waders, including redshank and lapwing and wildfowl, such as shoveler, teal and mallard. Woodland breeding birds include pied flycatcher, redstart and wood warbler and birds of prey such as peregrine falcon and red kite, hen harrier and barn owl. Cuckoo, nightjar, tree pipit, yellowhammer and whinchat breed on the Foel. Osprey usually arrive in spring and lay around late April.

Ynyslas Dunes National Nature Reserve, Dyfi Biosphere, Wales
Summer

Marsh and bee orchids appear in the dunes followed by pyramidal orchids. On the saltmarsh there are colourful flowers like sea pink, sea aster and sea spurrey as well as the strange green fleshy marsh samphire.

There are plenty of butterflies, moths and dragonflies on many of the reserves including the rosy marsh moth and large heath butterfly at Cors Fochno. You will see damselflies and dragonflies – darters, chasers and hawkers – on the wetlands. Grass snakes are very active. There are thousands of toads

You might spot wildlife like osprey and otter on the estuary. On the RSPB reserve there are migrant waders such as green sandpiper and greenshank and birds of prey including peregrine falcon and red kite.

There are plenty of dormice living on the reserves and although hard to spot, gnawed out nuts can be seen.

Autumn in the Dyfi Biosphere, Wales
Autumn

The autumn colours are rich and varied on the raised bog which is dressed in a range of russet red colours. 

Fungi found on the dunes include waxcaps, earth stars, puffballs and bird’s nest fungi.

Migrating waders can be seen in the estuary.

Large numbers of waterfowl feed on the saltmarshes, including wigeon, teal, shoveler, white-fronted geese and barnacle geese. Also a good time of year to see wading birds, such as lapwing, golden plover and curlew, and birds of prey. Starlings migrate to the area and can be seen in huge numbers off Aberystwyth pier and stay all winter.

Greenland white fronted geese, Dyfi Biosphere, Wales
Winter

During the winter months, the Dyfi estuary is home to wintering wildfowl while, on the beach, you may see waders, sanderling and golden plover.

Look out for hunting birds of prey including red kite, hen harrier, short eared owl, buzzard merlin and peregrine falcon. Ducks and geese feed in large numbers on the estuary saltmarshes - you could see wigeon, teal, shoveler, white-fronted geese and barnacle geese, lapwing, golden plover and curlew.

Wildlife Reserves

The large expanse of heather moorland, with its associated boggy areas surrounds an exposed upland lake. Spectacular views can be enjoyed from the viewpoint. Species inhabiting Glaslyn wildlife reserve include Golden Plover, Hen Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Red Grouse, Skylark, Wheatear, Whinchat, Emperor Moth, Small Heath, Cotton-grass and Heather.The reserve lies on the minor road between the B4518 near Staylittle and the A489 at Machynlleth.

The reserve is a healthy mixture of bog, swamp, wet woodland and scrub supporting a plethora of animals and plants. The magnificent Osprey is typically here from April to September. Common Lizards, Nightjars, Grasshopper, Reed & Sedge Warblers, Yellow Flag Iris and Four-spotted Chasers can be seen in spring and summer. Water Buffalo graze the reserve during the summer. The winter brings a host of small birds to the feeders as well as Barnacle Geese and Hen Harriers to the wider reserve. You may even glimpse the elusive Bittern in the reed beds. It is located on the A487, SY20 8SR.

This charming, broadleaf woodland is home to a diverse range of plants and animals. Spot the Pied and Spotted Flycatchers in the spring. Common woodland birds also include the Great Spotted Woodpecker, the Treecreeper and the Common Chiffchaff. Both the Common Shrew and the Pygmy Shrew also inhabit this woodland. Within slightly drier areas of Abercorris, you may be lucky enough to observe the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, an increasingly rare butterfly. It is located near Corris village - SY20 9DB.

Cwm Clettwr has a large regenerating area of heath, and a section of broadleaf woodland that is notified SSSI. The area is rich in flowering plants and ferns including Oak Fern and Beech Fern. Breeding birds include Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Nuthatch, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Sparrowhawk and Wood Warbler. It is located through Tre’r-ddôl, on the small road on the right just after Soar Chapel and behind Siop Cynfelyn. Here is the pdf for the site.

Ynys-hir was home to BBC Springwatch for 3 years. In the spring, the woodland is carpeted with bluebells and other spring flowers, whilst birdsong fills the air. Watch pied flycatcher and redstart emerging from the nest boxes.

Summer brings nesting wading birds, such as lapwing and redshank, and some very special butterflies and dragonflies too. Then in the colder months, watch huge flocks of ducks such as teal, wigeon and golden eye plus Greenland white fronted geese and barnacle geese from the estuary hides. Look out for otters in the pools and river. 

This extensive reserve includes part of the Dyfi Estuary, Ynyslas dunes and Cors Fochno (Borth bog) – one of the largest and finest examples of a raised peat bog in Britain.

Ynyslas dunes and beach are open access with board walks and paths to explore the reserve. The dune slacks are well known for their rich orchid population and rare mosses and liverworts. Skylark, linnet, stonechat and shelduck breed in the dunes whilst ringed plovers nest on pebbly parts of the beach.

Cors Fochno has a public footpath with views from both sides of the bog ideal for birdwatchers. Breeding birds of the bog habitats include; Teal, Redshank, Common snipe, Water rail, Cuckoo, Skylark, Stonechat, Grasshopper warbler, Sedge warbler, Reed warbler and Reed bunting. And, in winter, hen harrier, peregrine falcon and merlin hunt over the open bog. The area is home to some sixteen species of sphagnum bog mosses including three which are nationally scarce. All three British sundew species are present along with bog rosemary and a good range of other wetland specialists.

Dyfi Estuary attracts large numbers of waders and wildfowl in the winter including important numbers
of wigeon. The estuary also supports the only regular wintering population of Greenland white-fronted geese in Wales and England. You can see these from the adjacent RSPB reserve at Ynyshir along with other wildfowl and wintering waders such as lapwing and golden plover. 

This is an ancient semi-natural woodland site that once formed part of the old Plas Cynfelin Estate. The woodland has a range of nooks and crannies where a wide variety of species flourish. In particular, the old quarry area last worked in the 1950’s provides many different micro habitats with its rocky cliffs and sheltered hollows. 

Penglais woods formed part of the large Penglais Estate which dates back to the 18th century. It contains lovely deciduous broadleaved woodland that has a spectacular showing of bluebells in spring and an old quarry area that gives fantastic views over Cardigan Bay. 

A Reserve with something to interest everybody, it consists of an Iron Age Hill-Fort, hay meadow, river, beach, vegetated shingle spit, and old railway track. The Iron Age hill fort of Pen Dinas, dating from 300 BC to 43 AD is at the heart of this site. Accessible from Aberystwyth by several footpaths. 

 
 
 

Probably Wales’ best kept secret. Located in Mid Wales this area is a recognised UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Why? Because of the diversity of its natural beauty, heritage and wildlife. With several important nature reserves, lowland wet grassland and salt marshes, ancient woodlands, lakes, national trails, coastal paths and mountains to explore... all within Dyfi the Biosphere. 

Autumn in the Biosphere - photo Kerryn Price