The Chiffchaffs are back!

Monday, March 22, 2010 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


Yesterday I spent the majority of my time at the WWT site near Llanelli. It has been a good few months since my last visit and the changing seasons are really starting to show themselves well in terms of the birds that are present. The best sign of Spring so far was the sighting of my first two Chiffchaffs of the year in the woodland around the Millennium Wetlands. The sighting was enough to satisfy me but they then launched into their familiar "chiff-chaff" call to cement their arrival. The Chiffchaffs weren't the only vocal birds around with this Robin singing its little heart out.

12139 - Robin singing 12140 - Robin singing

Out on the scrapes the number of Widgeon have fallen dramatically whilst the Shellduck population has increased at least ten fold as they prepare to breed. The Black Headed Gulls are also circling the site noisily as they prepare to establish their breeding colonies once again. Last year the islands on the main lake were absolutely packed with nests so I am hoping that this year will be the same. The Gulls certainly add an impressive background soundtrack to any visit. For once our trip also coincided with high tide which meant that there were a decent number of waders within viewing distance. Black Tailed Godwits numbered in the several hundreds with flocks on most of the main areas of water. I also saw my first Dunlin of the year in front of the British Steel Hide where a group of around seventy were happily snoozing the morning away. This hide also provided good views of a Spoonbill, two Spotted Redshank and a Greenshank. It seems so normal writing Spoonbill these days as there has been one or two birds present here for the majority of the last twelve months!

The highlight of the day bird wise were six Pintails (four male, two female) viewed from the back of the British Steel Hide. This beats my previous best of two birds at the same location from last year. The resident Little Grebe seems to have found a mate whilst I saw several pairs of Robins and a very colourful pair of Bullfinches. I did notice that the number of Gadwall was significantly lower than my last visit with only about ten birds visible. One pair had landed on one of the show pools and the male let me get close enough for some photographs.

12149 - Male Gadwall at WWT Llanelli 12146 - Male Gadwall at WWT Llanelli

Further signs of spring were in evidence with the first of the captive Nene geese goslings out and about with their parents and also my first butterfly of the year, a Comma.

12137 - Nene Gosling 12160 - Comma Butterfly

Whilst exploring we came across the baby Rabbit that can be seen below. This was one of two that were feeding in the undergrowth and was relatively tame. The female Mallard also shown below was just too forthcoming not to have photographed so I duly did.

12151 - Rabbit at WWT Llanelli 12136 - Female Mallard at WWT Llanelli

I will be visiting here more often over the next few weeks as the Spring migrants continue to arrive and the birds begin to get into the breeding season more heavily. I am also hoping to capture some of the Gull colony activities this year as they are certainly very entertaining. Any pictures will of course be posted up here.

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