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Llandegfedd Visitor Centre


Typical wet and windy weekend but still went out with the camera regardless. I love looking for signs of spring and there were plenty today even in the rain. I visited Llandegfedd, one of my favourite locations. The Great Crested Grebes have already got their spring plumage with crests getting larger every day and some are already displaying to each other.

Great Crested Grebes Courtship

Wild Primrose is flowering in the surrounding meadows, along with our native wild Daffodil which is becoming harder and harder to find in the southern parts of Wales.. I see plenty of them on the way to work in Brecon however. 

Wild Primrose

Another pre-spring sign can be found in the wintering Wildfowl that are hanging around, much like these Teal that are all squabbling over a single female, most of which are already moving north. Short video below shows them displaying to the female.

Saw my first batch of Frogspawn up the British also and with it, a Grey Heron! Haven't seen a Heron on this patch before and certainly wasn't expecting to flush one while walking through a Gorse patch. 


With new development on the cards for 'The British', its unknown at present, just how much we will retain of the wild reclaimed slag-heaps, that are proving to be great for wildlife! Who would have thought that are scarred post-industrial history would give birth to such a hospitable habitat, not just for our bird population but our Invertebrates, Flora and even our Bryophyte moss species. The site is currently used mostly by Dog Walkers and Off-road vehicles like quad bikes and scramblers, so weekends are a no go if you want to see Birds, but plants thankfully don't move and the un-touched areas of the slag-heaps are reclaimed by many species of Grass, and in this case Bryophyte, as shown in the picture below that shows a cluster of both Reindeer Moss - cladonia impexa and I think the start of Silky Wall Feather-moss - homalothecium sericeum which as its name suggests, prefers wall / rock environments, but in this case, the Coal is acting as a good alternative.  

Reindeer Moss - cladonia impexa & Silky Wall Feather-moss - homalothecium sericeum

Frosty Morning!

Averaging around 0ºc this morning and the birds were really showing a difference in behaviour. On the way to my feeding station I watched a poor Jackdaw getting malled by another Jackdaw and a few Magpies. Birds only really have one thing worth fighting for in the Winter and that's food. Same sort of behaviour at the feeding station also with Blue Tits fighting, rolling on the floor like Dogs! 

Another good morning though and todays surprise visitors came with attitude. Both Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch were jealously competing for the peanuts before I ran out. 

Had lunch at the visitors centre @ Llandegfedd afterwards and the cold weather had brought in a lot more wildfowl that usual. Red / Fieldfare numbers were quite high too, especially at the north end. The annual Peregrine Falcon's are still using the Osprey Pole as a look out along the mud flats. 

Llandegfedd Chaos & Early trip to Forest of Dean

During a buzz of spotting my first Bewicks Swans (Later ID'd to be Whoopers!**) for Llandegfedd, I noticed that there was something going on at the visitors centre car park. Looks like a car may have had their handbreak fail or something as there was 2 fire engines and lots of police trying to attend someone in the lower car that might have been hit by the falling car.  (speculation) I hope nobody was hurt. 

Feeding station is doing really well! Lots of activity with the added addition of a Nuthatch amongst the typicals. In other news, 2 Peregrines were on the banks of the North end having been hunting along the waters edge. Male and Female! Beautiful birds. 

Really early trip to Symonds Yat Rock this morning with good friend Ian Howells to see a Marsh Tit and a stop off on the way home at Cefn Ila where we saw a Red Admiral feeding on an ivy bush along with lots of Honey Bees! Making the most of the sun while it was out!. 

Soggy Success @ Llandegfedd Reservoir

I wasn't expecting much Joy this weekend given the terrible weather as it is really hard to even see anything through the binoculars when its tipping down with rain and blowing a gail! but this really is the best time to get out to Llandegfedd because birds do get blown in from the coast! This weekends weather has been perfect for off shore birds turning up around our coastal line and this is a perfect example of how weather can effect migratory sea birds. 

I firstly set out to Llandegfedd to for-fill a few tasks with the Bird feeder project that I'm running this winter. Welsh Water kindly cleared the feeding station for me so now it's just a matter of topping the feeders up which I'm going to be doing myself. Having done that and got soaked in the process, I hopped back in the car and headed over to the visitors centre so that I could carry on my birding from the comfort of the centre. Had a Hot Chocolate (Highly recommended) and around 13:00pm I spotted a Great Northern Diver! I got the word out as quick as I could and a few birders joined me around 14:00 and come 15:00 another turned up out of nowhere! 

Weather was still pretty bad at this point and they were out in the middle of the Res but this is a personal first for me at Llandegfedd and possibly even a first for Gwent! 

Prior to all this excitement, while I was heading over to the visitors centre, I spotted an Otter crossing the road in the country lanes heading away from Llandegfedd up the main stream that runs into it. I'll be keeping an eye on that particular section of the road from now on! 

I also flushed a Waterail from the North end while putting some food outside of 'Hide 1' left of fishermans car park. 

So overall, despite the horrific weather, not a bad day at all!!

Llandegfedd Nestbox Survey Results

While I cannot share sensitive information, the basis of todays survey was pretty defining in that 50% of the boxes onsite needed repairing. A figure that may increase upon checking inside the boxes which is on the agenda for our next visit with a group of volunteers. 

Nestbox Survey

Below is something I knocked up as part of a PDF that I've forwarded to all involved. Sensitive information isn't included and positioning of nest boxes are by no means accurate and to be used only as a guide for our volunteer workforce who will be conducting the work. 5

Llandegfedd Winter Access

As of October 1st, access along the Llandegfedd Trail will be limited. You will no longer have access through the woodland trail leading to the north meadows and the fisherman car park. Despite Welsh Waters obligation, the reasons for shutting this trail are actually nationally important. Llandegfedd is an SSSI for wintering wildfowl which means that once upon a time, Llandegfedd was good for wildfowl! That certainly isn't the case in recent years which makes you think, why is the SSSI still in place? Well, a site of specific scientific interest is meant to be managed according to the subject and apart from shutting a path each winter, nothing else has been done to improve the site for wildfowl for years. All this will hopefully change through monthly meetings and different management agreements but for now, we simply have to deal with the closure and hope that it helps encourage the wildfowl in. With Welsh Waters decision to allow boats on the water up until November, it's an impossible target to try and achieve. 


Llandegfedd Reservoir Concerns?

Throughout the years of development 2013/14 of the new Visitors Centre, I've had my worries about the future of Llandegfedd and the general direction it is inevitably going in. I worry because the North end of the Res has always been shut off from the general public resulting in it being a major hotspot for wildlife. This includes many Red Listed species of Bird and even plants that require a rich secluded spot like Llandegfedd to thrive. I also worry because over 200+ walkers with their Dogs have since visited Llandegfedd venturing out to explore their new pathways but the problem is, there are no bins what so ever, no dog bins, no signs and no fencing to prevent people from straying away from the path. There are sections of the North end that were meant to be totally cut off and out of bounds but currently there are no barriers to prevent Dogs or people walking straight into them. Owners of Llandegfedd really haven't thought things through! They just wanted to open it up by the deadline. This isn't acceptable. 

As you can see in the photos below, it also looks like they are going to build a dock at the north end for the boats. Though the dock itself may make for better birding, the activity is another worry. As you can see in the pictures below, there are no fences in the meadows what so ever and soon, these fields will be covered in wild flowers. 

Llandegfedd Reservoir Visitors Centre Opening Day!

April is one of my favourite months so expect lots of activity here this month! Spring is pretty much already here with many of our native Birds already nesting and some with chicks already! Like our Mallard Ducks! Well, that said, today is also the opening of the new Llandegfedd Visitors Centre! I'll post up photo's as soon as I get a chance to go over there. (I plan on going straight after work today).

Llandegfedd Visitor Centre