Bearded Tits, Scaup and The New Year

Thursday, January 01, 2009 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


Now that I am back at work I thought I would provide a little update on where I have been since new years day. Firstly it is worth mentioning, just in case you hadn't noticed, that 2009 so far has been bitterly cold. Everywhere that I have visited has been frozen solid with even the very large lake at Kenfig NNR being frozen solid across much of its expanse. This does seem to have effected the numbers of birds around with particular emphasis on waders. I have no idea where they all go when it's this cold but I imagine that they must find it difficult to get much food.

On New Years day I attended the tick and twitch event at WWT Llanelli. This was an event aimed primarily at getting this years bird sightings off to a good start. My previous best for the site had been fifty species a few weeks ago, but due to the cold we were advised to expect only around thirty five. Indeed many of the waders were absent, in particular the usual mass of Egrets, Redshank and Godwits. However the cold weather really seemed to bring out the smaller birds and a very unusual flock of Canada Geese for this site. Highlights included a single male Pintail at the observatory and a single Redpoll mixed in with a flock of Goldfinches and Siskins out on the Millenium Wetlands. I also finally saw my first Water Rail at this site feeding very close to one of the board walks in the wetlands. Having been visiting for the last eighteen months or so the appearance was certainly due. We also heard another couple calling in the reeds. Cold weather certainly seems like the best time to see these birds after my sightings at Upton Warren as well. In all we managed to see fifty three species which is absolutely amazing. Unfortunately the best count of the day was sixty two but I have no hard feelings.

A couple of days after I headed back to Cardiff to visit Cosmeston Lakes. Things got off to a flying start (excuse the pun) with a Water Rail feeding on the board walk at the centre entrance. Just off in the reeds in the same location the elusive male Bearded Tit turned up feeding on bent over reeds seemingly oblivious to our presence. The Bearded Tit really is a magnificent species, and helped to brighten up a very grey day. On the opposite side of West Lake a single male Lesser Scaup was roosting in a large flock of Tufted Ducks. This was a life first for me. If you want to catch up with the Scaup I believe it has now moved over to Cardiff Bay. After Cosmeston we drove over to Cardiff Bay again on the hunt of the Slavonean Grebe. We were again denied but were treated to eleven Goosanders out on the water and a small flock of roosting Lapwings on the nearby waste ground.

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