In soli­tude, high above the Wye Val­ley

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go BIrding - DAVID SAUN­DERS

SUR­ROUNDED BY AN area of com­mon land, the pool is a Brec­knock Wildlife Trust na­ture re­serve and al­ways worth a visit. When wa­ter lev­els are high, the edge of the pool reaches al­most to the road, but even when low is still no great dis­tance from the care­ful ob­server. Brechfa Pool is noted for its rich flora, which in­cludes Pill­wort, a Red Data Book species, mid-wales be­ing its European strong­hold. Other note­wor­thy plants in­clude Or­ange Fox­tail Grass and Pen­ny­royal, while rafts of white flow­er­ing Wa­ter Crow­foot en­hance the shal­lows. It’s amaz­ing to think that Black-headed Gulls did not nest in Bre­con­shire un­til the be­gin­ning of the 20th Cen­tury, though have now been known at Brechfa for many years, with up to 100 pairs on oc­ca­sions. Mute Swan and Coot nest – as do Lap­wings – on the sur­round­ing pas­tures. Away to the west, Llandy­falle Hill should not be missed, es­pe­cially in spring when Golden Plover flocks are on pas­sage and the first Wheatears ar­rive. The great chal­lenge, though, is to lo­cate a small party, a trip of Dotterel, which are quite a fea­ture in up­land Wales dur­ing their north­ward mi­gra­tion. Pa­tience and a lit­tle good for­tune in this area can be well re­warded.

TOP TIP An af­ter­noon visit with the light com­fort­ably be­hind is the best choice

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