More about Birds in Mid Wales
March is the best time to see our birds of prey as they establish their nesting territories and perform their aerial mating displays – Red Kite, Buzzard, Peregrine, Sparrowhawk and occasionally Kestrel, rarely Goshawk or Merlin. Osprey now breed in Wales and each spring and autumn they pass through Mid Wales, following the Wye Valley on migration.
Our upland rivers are home to Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Goosander and Common Sandpiper while downstream in the River Wye one may see Kingfisher, Heron and occasionally Mandarin Duck. Mid Wales is not an area for great numbers of water birds but Cormorant, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Mallard, Golden Eye, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal and Tufted Duck all occur in small numbers on some of the lakes and reservoirs.
Birds that nest in woodland and are resident all year are: Woodpigeon, Tawny Owl, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Treecreeper, Wren, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Dunnock, Robin and Chaffinch. In spring these are joined by the Pied Flycatcher, who so often set up home in many of the nestboxes around the area and the not so common Wood Warbler. Woodcock are common winter visitors to damp woods.
Also associated with woodland habitat are Siskin and Redpoll which love to feed on seeds of birch and alder trees, Jackdaw which feast on caterpillars in the oak trees in summer and Jay who collect the crop of acorns in the autumn. If you have a sharp ear you may hear the high pitched call of Goldcrest, often associated with conifers.
Thorn bushes and bramble clumps both in and around woodlands provide nesting habitat favoured by more of our summer visitors: Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiff Chaff and Willow Warbler, and also by resident Goldfinch, Bullfinch and Long-tailed Tit.
Bracken covered hillsides dotted with young trees and thorn bushes is the habitat favoured by summer visiting Tree Pipit and by resident Linnet and Yellowhammer while open moorland is the habitat of resident Meadow Pipit and Skylark, species whose nests are used by Cuckoo. Other birds of summer moorland are the Wheatear, Whinchat and Stonechat. Curlew and Snipe, once more common, can still be heard in one or two moorland areas.
The habitat of long grasses, rushes and willow scrub to be found in rhos pasture is nesting habitat for the occasional pairs of visiting Grasshopper Warbler and resident Reed Bunting. Ponds provide good hunting for Heron which can be seen through the year.
Of the crow family Raven regularly patrol the hillsides with their distinctive cronking calls, sometimes showing off with acrobatic, tumbling flights. Jackdaw, Rook, Crow and Magpie are all resident species around the towns, villages and farmland.
Autumn never fails to bring glorious colours and the harvest of thorn berries and rowan berries attract flocks of winter visiting Redwing and Fieldfare and passing through in the spring and autumn Ring Ouzel. Another winter visitor is the Brambling usually seen among flocks of local chaffinch.
Several species use the security of buildings for their nest sites: Stock Dove, Pied Wagtail and occasionally Barn Owl and summer visiting Swallow, Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher nest in and around farm buildings. House Sparrow, Starling, Collared Dove and summer visiting House Martin and Swift all make their nests among the buildings and gardens of our towns and villages.