THE Teifi Marshes nature reserve at Cilgerran is experiencing a bumper year for several key bird species.

A spokesperson for the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW) said the dry, sunny and warm months of April and May proved important in boosting numbers.

A report from the Trust says kingfishers have been much in evidence, with one photo catching six individuals on a branch perch overhanging the Kingfisher pool.

They are regularly seen feeding from all areas of open water and numbers are greater this year than previous years.

Little Egrets are also faring well and greater numbers can be seen wading along water edges and the river Teifi.

“One species that we are particularly excited about is the barn owl,” said the spokesperson.

“Numbers for this species are decreasing at an alarming rate across the UK yet this year has seen the fledging of three barn owl chicks on the reserve.

“All chicks have now left the nest yet continue to stay on the reserve, feeding over the meadows and reedbeds. The Teifi Ringing Group managed to ring and photograph the chicks (under license) and will continue to monitor them.

“Another exciting bird species to add to the list is the bittern. A young bird, most probably a two-year-old, has decided to take up residency on the reserve and can be regularly seen poking its head up from the rushes on the large pool on the marsh, seen from the car park.

“They usually migrate this way for winter months and so it is very encouraging to see that this individual has decided to make the reserve its home all year round.

“It is hoped that it can attract a breeding mate this winter and in turn create the first ever population on the reserve.

“The reserve continues to also be the only reed bunting RAS (Re-trap Adult for Survival) site in the UK. Sightings of colour-ringed reed buntings are particularly valuable from photographers. We thank them for their contribution to this project.”