The Gower Comes Up Trumps Again

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


What a weekend for birding this one has turned out to be. On Saturday we headed down to Mewslade bay to have a walk in slightly less windy conditions than last time. The usual tits and finches were flying around the farm at the car park and a very bedraggled looking Kestral was perched atop the cliffs half way down the valley. That is until it took a dislike to a Magpie and decided to chase it off. All was proceeding as expected until we had walked about a mile along the cliffs. What should pop up but a Dartford Warbler! The bird proceeded to flit around the gorse regularly perching out in the open affording superb views. Unlike my previous possible sighting at Worms Head there was absolutely no doubt about this one. It's great to see such a rare bird so close to home. But that was not the end. On the walk back we bumped into two Choughs just off the main cliff top footpath. According to records there is a single pair in this area so I suspect that these birds were most likely the same ones that we saw a few months ago in roughly the same place. This time however they were much tamer and allowed us to approach quite close to take photographs. Both birds were ringed so I will try and track down the history of them if I can. Other species of highlight include a male Peregrine Falcon perched high up on the cliffs surveying the surroundings, and a male Stonechat.

On Sunday we visited the WWT site at Llanelli and finally managed to break my previous single day species record for here and recorded a total of 50 different species within the site boundaries. Things kicked off well with a solitary Redwing on the grass outside the Micheal Powell Hide, as well as four Coal Tits and a male Bullfinch at the feeders there. Also nearby was a flock of eight Dunnocks feeding next to a small pool. I don't know if it is unusual for flocks to be seen this large but it is certainly a first for me. Out on the scrapes the large number of Lapwings and Widgeon remained (200+ of each species) and were joined by six Snipe and a couple of Dunlin. Redshank numbers were way down from a few weeks ago with a single bird present but the rest could well have been feeding out on the estuary. Outside the British Steel Hide a Water Pipit was showing well with a Buzzard going in for a kill in the long grass at the back of the hide. The feeders at the entrance bought out a Great Spotted Woodpecker with the usual Long Tailed Tits and Goldcrests seen at various points. It was also good to see a Little Grebe at the Heron Wing Hide. The Bittern has been sighted from this hide last week but there was no sign when we were present. I spent most of last winter looking out for it to no avail but you never know.

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