An intrepid band of members from North Wales Wildlife Trust braved heavy rain, road works on the A470 (and even a minibus with wet seats!) on Saturday to visit two jewels of the Dyfi Biosphere Reserve, namely Cors Fochno (Borth Bog) and Cors Dyfi. The latter is perhaps better known (at this time of year) as the home of the Dyfi Ospreys.
Cors Fochno is a fascinating raised bog on the edge of the Dyfi; the centre of the peat dome is indeed 9 metres above the floor of the original forest which covered the floodplain. Part of the western side of the bog was ‘reclaimed’ when the Afon Leri was canalised after 1820; in Natur Cymru #17 Mike Bailey describes how these fields were restored to the Bog around 20 years ago. On Saturday Mike (CCW Site Manager) gave us a conducted tour along the boardwalk at the northern edge of the reserve; much of the rest is best seen from a hot-air balloon! He showed us otter tracks over the path, and produced a floating board covered in water vole droppings (see photos). Mink are now largely absent from the site (Mike thinks the otters may have seen them off) and the water voles are back.
After lunch at the picnic tables at the Ynyslas Dunes Visitor Centre (the weather had relented by then), we headed back towards Machynlleth on the A487 (more road works here) to see the Ospreys at Mont Wildlife Trust’s reserve at Cors Dyfi. Emyr Evans writes about this site in the latest Natur Cymru. An adult brought in a fish to feed the surviving chick - two had died earlier in the season and this one had to be fed by hand for a short while, as it was too weak to hold its head up. It's doing fine now (see their website). A water buffalo dozed in the marsh, while Siskins and a Redpoll took seed from the feeder in front of the hide.
What a day!
Mike with the Water Vole platform