Sandwiched between a caravan park and Dovey Junction, the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust reserve at Cors Dyfi is worth savouring. This mixed habitat of bog, swamp, scrub and wet woodland is famous for its April-arriving ospreys, but look a little closer and you will notice a host of other wildlife wonders throughout spring and summer.


A wheelchair-friendly boardwalk weaves across the boggy habitat, from its new visitor centre towards the osprey-viewing 360 Observatory. Amble slowly for your best chance of sightings.

Lizard on path
Green common lizard on pathway near Dyfi Osprey Project, Machynlleth/Credit: Simon Whaley

Wildlife at Cons Dyfi

Sheltered by yellow-flag irises, grasses and shrubs, the sun-soaked boardwalk edges are favoured by lazing common lizards. Adults emerge from hibernation in spring, ready to mate in April and May. Unlike other reptiles, common lizards incubate their eggs inside their bodies, giving birth to inch-long babies from July. They are easy to spot against the boardwalk thanks to their brown or green colour, with darker spots or rows running along their backs.

Large red damselflies also rest along here on occasion. Emerging from the end of April, their vibrant scarlet bodies and eyes are easily spotted as they dart along the boardwalk between Cors Dyfi’s pools.

Listen out for the chirpy chirrup of reed warblers and the staccato song of sedge warblers drifting through the adjacent tall grasses and reeds. The recognisable calls of cuckoos and red kites also fill the air. May is when furry drinker moth caterpillars are busy munching leaves, ready to pupate in June. Despite all this noise, the reserve’s nocturnal dormice remain oblivious, and sleep right through the day.

Those pausing in the Ceri hide may snatch a fleeting glimpse of the elusive
water rail, sneaking between the reed beds. Bigger splashes might be playful otters frolicking about.

Portrait of a bird in water
Head to the Ceri hide for a chance to spot elusive water rails/Credit: Martin Dodd, Getty

There is always a chance of catching the unmistakable fluorescent cerulean flash
of a kingfisher darting across the water.


Cors Dyfi’s newest inhabitants are three Eurasian beavers, which were released into an enclosure here last spring. The wetland habitat management skills of this keystone species will ensure that Cors Dyfi continues to benefit a wide range of wildlife, including the beavers’ famous osprey neighbours.


Simon Whaley
Simon WhaleyAuthor, writer and photographer

Simon Whaley is a Shropshire-based author, writer, and photographer.