Thornbury

Llanerchindda

Report on our visit to Llanerchindda Farm on June 3/4/5/6 th 2019

Day 1) Ten of us met at Llangasty by Langorse Lake, as planned, to break the journey and have our picnic lunch. We saw various waterfowl and other birds — Buzzard, Kite and Reed Bunting — before crossing the field to the “new” hide further along the lake shore. The wild orchids were a welcome sight along the way. A pair of Great Crested Grebes were seen on the lake. The “new” hide was a good place for lunch — the only hide we know with a thatched roof and stained glass window.
After an enjoyable two hours by the lake we drove on through Llandovery and Cynghordy to Llanerchindda Farm. The welcome — with tea and cakes — was as warm and homely as ever. The newly extended lounge/dining area brought the picture windows even closer to the bird feeder on the terrace. Thus we were entertained by Sparrows, Finches, Tits, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Yellowhammer and a Jay. We were unsure whether the Willow Tit was a Marsh Tit or vice versa but local knowledge (Andrew) insisted it was a Marsh Tit. We settled into our rooms and then enjoyed an excellent evening meal.

Day 2) The weather forecast was poor and the reality no better so we planned the day to allow as much time as possible under shelter. We drove the 30 miles to Rhayader and the Elan Valley Visitor Centre. Here, it was possible to have coffee and keep watch over the river from under the veranda. Grey Wagtails and a Pied Flycatcher entertained us while a Dipper occasionally patrolled its territory.
After lunch at the Centre the party divided with one group going to the Gilfach Reserve and its Otter Hide and the second going to the Rhayader Kite Feeding centre. Most of us got wet at one time or another.

Day 3) The weather on Wednesday was rather better so we headed off for the RSPB Dinas Reserve on the River Tywi. The scenery on approach was not improved by massive earthworks for the construction of a new hydro-power plant. Mercifully, this did not affect the reserve itself which was still as attractive as we remembered it. We walked slowly along the boardwalk listening to a cacophony of birdsong and were soon rewarded by sighting a Pied Flycatcher. A notable highlight was a Greater Spotted Woodpecker emerging from its hole in a tree 6 or7 metres from the path. As soon as it had left, a youngster poked its head out of the hole. withdrew, and reappeared. The adult returned and remained in the area.
As we continued through the woods saw a Redstart, Wrens and later, several (a family?) of treecreepers. As there had
been so much rain the previous day it seemed unwise to attempt the very rough circular walk. Thus we backtracked to the river before returning to the car park and the picnic tables for lunch.
In the afternoon the group drove up to the dam at Llyn Brianne. The reservoir was considerably lower than at our previous visit: birdlife was limited, but the views were magnificent. On the way back to the farm we stopped at a lay-by by the River Tywi in the hope of finding Dippers. None were seen but we were rewarded with a display of Swallows, House Martins and a Sand Martin catching flies over the water. Their speed, acute turns and collision avoidance were amazing to watch.

Day 4) It was sad to leave Llanerchindda Farm where we had enjoyed excellent accommodation and meals — and most welcome afternoon tea and cakes. We broke the journey home at the Brecon beacons National Park Visitor Centre where we had a short moorland walk before lunch in the cafe. Several Skylarks were heard and seen.
This concluded the expedition as we made our separate ways home. Many thanks to Jill Stone for keeping all the records!

Denis

Bird Sightings

Swift Goldfinch Robin Magpie Song Thrush
Swan Grey Heron Cuckoo (H) Grey Wagtail Wren
B H Gull L B B Gull Great Tit Wood Pigeon Treecreeper
Coot Canada Goose Little Grebe Pheasant Skylark
Red Kite Reed Warbler Mallard Dunnock Wheatear
Buzzard Carrion Crow Moorhen Pied Flycatcher Common Sandpiper
Nuthatch Swallow G S Woodpecker Spotted Flycatcher Tawny Owl (H)
Bullfinch G C Grebe House Sparrow Dipper Jackdaw
House Martin Cetti’s Warbler Coal Tit Redstart Meadow Pipit