Final birding day of the year
It was a glorious day and the woods around Cwm Ivy were heaving with birds. Long Tailed, Coal, Blue and Great Tits were all about, as were a couple of Ravens and a very noisy Jay. Song Thrushes seemed to be everywhere popping out of the grass as I walked, while a singing Robin seemed almost alien after the quietness of the last few weeks. Just as I reached the sand I heard the familiar call of Chough and spotted three on the dunes. Overhead a flock of Skylark made their presence known. Down on the shoreline a couple of thousand Oystercatcher were feeding and a mixed flock of Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Sanderling were patrolling the beach. A quick scan of the Burry Inlet revealed ten Great Crested Grebe, one male and two female Red Breasted Mergansers and three immature Eider. Further on a Grey Heron and a single Bar Tailed Godwit were to be found.
What I really wanted however was my last bogey bird for Gower i.e. a species I consider that I should have seen on the peninsular. The bird in question was a Slavonean Grebe and I was a bit miffed to hear that I had been looking at a stretch of water earlier where there had been two at exactly that time. Fortunately the others in the hide picked up one feeding out in the bay so I continually scanned the area until I finally caught sight of it. Although distant the views were pretty good leaving me very happy. A great way to round out the year.
On the walk back along Whitford Burrows I picked up a few Curlew out on the marsh before being assaulted by a cacophony of noise. I looked around for the source of the commotion just as three Peregrine Falcons shot overhead. Two adult birds were attempting to steal a kill from a younger individual which looked to be a Redshank. I'm not sure who won the battle as they were soon lost to sight behind the dunes.
I finished off the day with a brief stop at Penclawdd. The usual culprits were all present but unusually so was a Little Grebe fishing around one of the boats. Three different Grebe species in a day is always the sign of a great trip. I look forward to many more of them during 2011.