Cardigan and Newport

Sunday, March 22, 2009 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


On Sunday I felt an urge to travel a bit further afield and with the weather still holding it seemed like the perfect opportunity to head back to Pembrokeshire. The location was set for the Teifi Marshes, the headquarters for the South and West Wales Wildlife Trust. This reserve covers an area of 107 hectares and encompasses reedbeds, mud banks and open pasture amongst other habitats. Also of interest at the site are a herd of Water Buffalo that were sadly absent on our visit much to my other half's disappointment.

Further signs of spring were in the air with even more Chiffchaffs singing than we had heard the previous day. The best sighting though went to a flock of around twenty Sand Martins feeding over the river, another first for the year. Last year there was a colony at my local WWT reserve at Llanelli so I expect to see them back in the area soon given the proximity to Pembrokeshire. The river also presented a couple of female Goosanders, a small flock of Canada Geese and two Red Kite. One of the kites spent much of our visit hunting over the reedbeds offering some superb views at close quarters. Elsewhere on the reserve the number of waterfowl were sadly limited, with small numbers of Teal and Widgeon and a single Little Grebe. Sadly we didn't see the Kingfisher or Otter that are resident at the site but all things considered it was a very enjoyable few hours. We shall be paying a visit again in the near future, hopefully on a better tide in the hope that more birds are driven onto the pools (we were there at a very low tide).

After the Teifi, we drove the ten miles or so further down the coast to Newport in the hope of seeing the Cattle Egret that had been feeding in the area for the last week or so. As an aside whilst at university in Aberystwyth my house mate once caught a bus to Newport to get his passport sorted. Only when he arrived at a tiny village did he realise that he had traveled to the wrong Newport! To be honest I wasn't expecting any success given that I didn't really know where to look and the recent sightings had mostly been as the bird came into roost in the evenings. Fortunately the first road we turned down led to a bridge over the estuary. Within minutes of stopping an Egret flew into view over the nearby hill before disappearing from sight. The feet hadn't looked yellow to me (a sure sign that it wasn't a Little Egret) but at such distance I couldn't be sure. I needn't have worried though as the bird flew back into view and landed on the estuary just up from the bridge. Low and behold it was the infamous Cattle Egret. The bird spent the next half an hour or so feeding on the marsh unfortunately a bit too far away for my lens, so you will have to excuse the quality of the photos accompanying this post. Not a bad end to a very successful weekend.

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