Devil's Bridge & Nant yr Arian - 17/03/18

Only twenty-three hardy souls took the coach from Stockport to the Welsh county of Ceredigion. The usual comfort and breakfast stop at Welshpool produced a pair of Goosander on the canal at the car park.

Leaving Welshpool we quickly picked up our first Red Kite of the day and they were seen frequently from the coach on the rest of the journey. We also identified Mute Swan, Little Egret, Cormorant and Grey Heron from the coach. As we neared Devils Bridge small parties of Fieldfare, along with Starling, were picked up feeding in adjacent fields. A Raven passed over as we approached our destination.
The view from The Arch car park (Holly Page)

Parking the coach at The Arch car park just south of Devils Bridge the party alighted to be greeted by a bitterly cold cutting wind. This set the scene for the majority of the day, the weather was a huge challenge and clearly impacted on the number of birds we saw. A quick look around the conifers at the car park produced a couple of Siskin but none of our target bird, the Common Crossbill.
Most of our small party took the walk down the winding road, although Eric found a slightly different route through the trees and chanced upon two Woodcock. Only the bird feeders in the gardens at Pwllpeiran produced any bird activity. Great, Blue and Coal Tit were numerous with the odd Chaffinch and Robin. A couple of Pied Wagtail fed on the floor under the feeders. Siskin and Nuthatch were also identified in the area along with Song Thrush and a Meadow Pipit in the adjacent fields.
Siskin (Holly Page)

Towards the end of the walk we started to pick up other species with a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Buzzard and Jackdaw seen. Most of the party picked up Red Kite and a couple had a brief glimpse of a distant Peregrine.
At, the now usual location, at the end of the walk a handful of people connected with a male Goshawk which gave good views over the adjacent wooded hillside. At the same location most of the group connected with a party of twelve to fourteen Common Crossbill and a couple of people had brief, but clear views, of a huge female Goshawk. For those that didn’t get a glimpse of any of these birds it had been a very cold and frustrating walk!
Nant yr Arian (Holly Page)

Picking the coach up at the bottom of the hill we got underway to the Red Kite feeding station at Bwlch Nant yr Arian. On arrival we all walked down to the lake as feeding had commenced. Over two hundred Red Kite were in the air with counts varying between two hundred and twenty to two hundred and eighty birds. Whatever the number it is always an impressive spectacle. The photographers amongst us went snap happy and the whirring of motor-drives commenced!
Snap-happy photographers!
Out on the small lake a pair each of Canada Goose, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe and Mallard were present with a small number of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. In the adjacent trees a large party of Carrion Crow gathered waiting to pick up the scraps left by the kites. A couple of Buzzard also were in attendance.
Red Kite (Alan & Glo)

Red Kite (Holly Page)

With the feeding over many members took to the cafe and enjoyed a hot drink. The feeding station outside the visitor centre was visited by Siskin, Chaffinch, Dunnock and a few members of the tit family.

Beautiful scenery from the viewpoint at Nant yr Arian (Holly Page)

One of the visitor centre employees showed Brian live CCTV footage of a nesting Tawny Owl. The box location was not divulged but the poor bird was sitting with its back covered in snow.
The long journey home only added Moorhen and Kestrel to the day’s relatively brief list.
Birds seen:

Mute Swan Dunnock
Canada Goose Robin
Mallard Song Thrush
Tufted Duck Redwing
Goosander Mistle Thrush
Pheasant Fieldfare
Little Grebe Blackbird
Cormorant Goldcrest
Little Egret Great Tit
Grey Heron Coal Tit
Red Kite Blue Tit
Goshawk Nuthatch
Buzzard Magpie
Kestrel Jay
Peregrine Jackdaw
Moorhen Rook
Lapwing Carrion Crow
Woodcock Raven
Black-headed Gull Starling
Herring Gull House Sparrow
Lesser Black-backed Gull Chaffinch
Woodpigeon Greenfinch
Great Spotted Woodpecker Siskin
Meadow Pipit Common Crossbill
Pied Wagtail  Total = 49