05 October 2008

Where not to watch birds in Gwent: Ynysyfro Reservoirs

The first installment of this new regular feature takes in the delightful Ynysyfro reservoirs.

Location - Just north-east of High Cross, from junction 27 of the M4 take the B4591 towards Risca, after approximately 0.5 miles turn right (signposted Fourteen Locks Canal Centre), park at the Canal Centre. From the entrance to the car park turn right and right again and walk down the minor road to the reservoirs (signposted Ynysyfro Reservoirs).

Access - All of the upper basin, and the majority of the lower, can be viewed from the causeway. Gwent Ornithological Society members also have access to the paths around the lower basin.

Habitat - Two small artificial reservoirs with very limited marginal vegetation surrounded by regularly mown grass banking. During periods of low water some restricted areas of mud occur, in addition, a culverted ditch runs along the south west side of the lower basin. A small coniferous plantation, hedgerows, pasture, rough grassland, a golf course and a garden border the site.

Species - Very few species of bird have been located at this site making it one of the premier sites for not watching birds in the county. Apart from Little Owl, Feral Goose, Pochard and Chiffchaff, this evening I managed to not watch birds during most of my visit.

The idyllic lower basin looking east towards the golf course, note the tranquil surface to the limpid waters, almost entirely undisturbed by waterfowl.


Anonymous said...

there was a time in the dim and distant past when a semi-dedicated team of 5, used to regularly watch the now birdless YR. As part of this now defunct patchwatching team I managed to see a grand total of 138 species (in only 18 years of trying). Some of the birds were interesting and one was possibly a first for wales.

I have previously pointed out to the WWW that YR is (no longer) a place to watch birds at http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=2235

I admire this latest feature on your most excellent blog.

Keep up the good work.

John O'

Darryl said...

Evening John, I actually think it's an OK site but those sort of sentiments would make for a very boring blog. I could almost imagine a Yellow-browed in those trees near the car-park, which is why I was down there on Sunday,... it didn't happen of course,... but it might have.

138 species in 18 years, that's nearly 8 species per year :-)

Anonymous said...

I have spent many a happy hour hoping for a yellowbrowed or a firecrest in those trees. Not a sniff of one. My description of YR on Birdforum is "Two largely bird and birder forsaken resevoirs north of Newport". I agree totally with your Idea that this is a ideal site for not birdwatching.

I thought of an alternative feature today. Pointless Birding Activities (Gwent Style)

Number 1-Searching for Passerines in Bushes and Trees.

Despite untold hours peering into bushes/trees in Gwent I have never found a single scarcity, not even a firecrest. The totals for birds of this ilk found by anybody, anywhere in the county are minimal. It's around 5 YBW, 1 Bluethroat and little else. I reccomend every body stops this activity forthwith, there are no birds to be found.

p.s. tomorrow I'm going to try for YBW again ( I'm hoping for a Vireo, but don't tell anybody)