What better way to spend the morning of Dawn Chorus Day than watching wood warblers in a Welsh oakwood!
Last weekend I stayed at Tynyrhyd Retreat near Devil’s Bridge for Ramblers Cymru’s Big Welsh Walk. On the Saturday I did a fabulous 15-mile walk. On the Sunday (7 May) I was up at 5.30 (a little late) to celebrate Dawn Chorus Day in Coed Rheidol national nature reserve.
I took the bridleway through Tyn-y-Castell Farm, stopping to look at siskins in a conifer on the way, and then walked along the side of the valley before plunging down into the oak woods.
The place was alive with wood warblers, and I was able to watch them, only just above eye level. There was a particularly vociferous and active male (I assume) and I could see how much of the song is made on the wing as he flitted from perch to perch, round and round, every so often coming back to the tall, dead stem which provided an excellent perch right in front of me.
On previous occasions I have strained to catch a fleeting glimpse of a wood warbler after hearing its song, so it was a real treat to have this display. It was hard to tear myself away, but I headed on down the steep hill to Rheidol Halt on the Vale of Rheidol railway line, between Aberystwyth and Devil’s Bridge.
I crossed it and continued down the steep hill, still accompanied by the song of wood warblers and other birds, to the River Rheidol in the bottom.
I returned the same way, and the wood warbler was still at his station, whirring merrily. I managed to record his song here, a lovely memory of my first proper encounter with wood warblers.