RSPB Ynys-hir Nature Reserve

Eglwysfach, Machynlleth, Powys, Ceredigion, SY20 8TA, Wales

As always at RSPB reserves the birds put on a splendid show, thanks to the excellent reserve management. Bird watching starts in the car park with a host of birds at the different sections of the bird feeding station.

Finches, tits, woodpeckers and nuthatch can all take their fill - and in winter will almost clear out the feeder in the time it takes you to walk round the reserve. Grey squirrels inevitably get a meal out of it as well!

The range of habitats ensures variety and the trails provide a delightful walk even if you come during summer afternoons when birds are least in evidence. The oakwoods support all the characteristic birds of broadleaved woodland including pied flycatcher, redstart, wood warbler and both great and lesser spotted woodpeckers. The too often despised conifers are preferred by goldcrests and coal tits and in winter attract crossbills.

On the river look out for red-breasted merganser, a fish-eating duck with a toothed beak to ensure its catch does not escape. Common sandpiper frequent the river margins. In winter a small flock of Greenland white-fronted geese visit the marsh. They can be seen from the observation hides.

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