Burry Port - Terntastic!

Sunday, August 15, 2010 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


During the last week I have made a couple of visits to Burry Port to see how the Terns that roost there are fairing. My first trip was on Wednesday after work and happened to coincide with an outing by the Carmarthenshire Bird Club to the same location. They were a very nice bunch indeed and didn't seem to mind that I had tagged onto their group in the hope of spotting something unusual. I spent most of the evening talking to David and recommend checking out his site at wildlifewales.co.uk.

22254 - Late evening at Burry Port

The tide was exceptionally high which helped in pushing the birds as close to us as possible. The Sandwich Terns were out in force with eighty or so individuals while the regular flock of Oystercatchers numbered well over a thousand. Two of the Sandwich Terns appeared to be exceptionally young, still having large swathes of brown in their plumage. Even more exciting was the presence of four Common Terns, a first for me at this location and one of the few times that I have been able to positively identify this species from the very similar Arctic Tern. It does help when they are sat still on the ground as opposed to swooping through the air. Other waders included five Dunlin and four Ringed Plovers. All of the usual gulls were present and I was able to spot at least four Mediterranean Gulls in amongst the masses. I should also mention the male Peregrine Falcon that put all of the birds into the air before flying overhead giving us superb views.

I popped back again this morning to find that the numbers of Terns had grown to even more impressive levels. The group of Sandwich Terns now runs to over two hundred individuals, with at least twenty Common Terns also present. Unusual for this area was a single Shag sat on the sand bank. A short drive further along the coast put us at Kidwelly Quay, another prime marsh area particularly when water levels are high. On the near bank of the River were two Common Sandpipers, twenty or so Redshank and a couple of Little Egrets. A scan upriver found two Greenshank hiding under the railway bridge. As the tide retreated the birds began to move downstream and onto the newly uncovered mud. A very impressive group of eighty or so Curlew managed to disrupt the peace while six Black Tailed Godwits still in summer plumage were a very pleasant surprise. I was also pleased to find that after a break of a couple of months I was still able to identify a few Whimbrel.

From tomorrow I will be down in the sunny (hopefully) county of Cornwall for a week camping with some very good friends. I hope to get some photography and walking in and will post anything interesting that I see up here on my return. In the mean time feel free to follow my twitter feed if you want to stalk me further.

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