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29 January 2013
Image: Tom Marshall
Lake Vyrnwy lies within a Special Area of Conservation. The reserve protects several important habitats, including dry heath and blanket bog.
The RSPB works alongside other local stakeholders in order to manage these habitats for the benefit of the birds and other wildlife that live there.
Dry heath on the reserve supports key breeding birds such as ring ouzels, curlews and red grouse.
We use burning, mowing and grazing to maintain just the right mix of heather and grassland for these birds. We also cut back encroaching plantations and maintain the blanket bog by blocking up old drainage channels.
In the long term, we aim to convert up to 50 hectares of acid grassland into heath.
Oak woodland on the reserve supports breeding birds such as pied flycatchers. We are working with Forest Enterprise Wales and Severn Trent Water to look after this habitat. Our measures include controlled grazing, preserving deadwood on the forest floor and pollarding damaged birches.
We are also expanding the woodland by introducing more broad-leafed trees to neighbouring conifer plantations.
Other woodland projects include studying the plant and lichen communities and putting up nest boxes. We are also monitoring populations of key woodland birds such as nightjars, grasshopper warblers, willow tits, lesser spotted woodpeckers and bullfinches.
Lake Vyrnwy is a working farm, and we support farming activities that benefit farmland wildlife - including birds such as curlews. These vary from growing appropriate crops to managing river corridors, fencing woodlands and restoring walls and hedges.
Several bird species that breed at Lake Vyrnwy receive particular attention. These include three raptors, the hen harrier, merlin and peregrine, whose habitat we manage in order to provide suitable breeding conditions and enough prey. We also maintain protected areas around black grouse nest sites.
Tesco generously decided to donate the money it collected in its stores in Wales from the Welsh Government's 5p single-use bag levy to RSPB Cymru.
At Lake Vyrnwy we've used this money to carry out habitat management to help moorland-breeding birds like hen harriers, merlins and black grouse, as well as to improve conditions on local farmland for curlews. Funding will also support the management of a herd of feral Welsh mountain ponies vital in maintaining the reserve's moorland habitat.
The money will also go towards an education programme that will support the development of a new mini-beasting and storytelling area, plus a range of weekend family events. We’ll continue 2012’s popular lambing event program at Ty Llwyd farm.
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