Exploring the Thames and Severn Canal

A circular walk taking in the Thames and Severn Canal.

Snowdon - 30 Years in the making

After almost thirty years of trying we finally get perfect conditions for an ascent of Snowdon.

Juvenile Herring Gulls at Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle has had a few extra guests of late and they were putting on a great display.

Malham Cove

A spring visit to Malham Cover delivers Redstarts, Wheatear and nesting Peregrine Falcons.

Sunset over Worm's Head

A perfect sunset over Worm's Head on Gower.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Whooper, Scaup and 2011

After the indulgences of Christmas and a few days back at work I was really looking forward to getting back into the great outdoors today. Imagine my disappointment therefore upon opening the curtains this morning to find thick fog and wave upon wave of rain being driven up the valley from the west. These past few weeks have seen some of the direst weather I have yet experienced since moving to Wales and to be frank I've had enough of it. I was determined to get out so consulted the weather forecasts and spotted what looked to be a few hours of promising weather over Cardiff around midday. Realising that we had yet to visit Cosmeston Lakes this year it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put that little oversight right. We were soon on our way down the M4 and by some miracle arrived just as the sun broke through the clouds. I jumped straight out of the car and headed over to the waters edge before conditions could change back as I really wanted to connect with the lakes current celebrity; an incredibly tame Whooper Swan.

25440 - Whooper Swan, Cosmeston

25436 - Whooper Swan, Cosmeston

25438 - Whooper Swan, Cosmeston

As had been reported the Whooper was associating with the resident Mute Swans and was very happy to feed on bread thrown into the water by visitors. It has a very prominent orange ring on its left leg reading Y59, which marks this out as a bird ringed in Worcestershire during January of this year. Whooper Swans are by no means a common visitor to the area and it is even more unusual to find one that is quite so approachable.

25443 - Mute Swans and Whooper Swan, Cosmeston

The Mute Swans on the other hand were as in your face as ever. Woe betide anyone who arrives not bearing gifts (or at least some stale bread).

25447 - Mute Swan, Cosmeston

On the opposite side of the lake another winter visitor, this time a Greater Scaup, could be found snoozing the day away amongst a flock of Tufted Ducks. As usual with this species it was asleep and had managed to pick a patch of water that was just out of reach of my camera. It's as if they do it on purpose I swear.

25449 - Scaup, Cosmeston

Water levels at the lake were the highest I have ever seen them which was causing small waves (it was quite windy) to lap over the board-walk edges in places. This Black Headed Gull didn't seem to mind though.

25448 - Black Headed Gull, Cosmeston

Other birds seen during the trip included a couple of Redwing, three Bullfinch and a smattering of Pochard and Great Crested Grebes. As with Sandy Water Park last week waterfowl numbers are way down on what were they last year, no doubt due to the incredibly mild temperatures. Today for instance the car was reading 11 celcius which hardly seems fitting for the last day of the year. 

Speaking of which I had intended to do an end of year post but I decided against it as I just couldn't choose what to include. 2011 has found us in some fantastic locations with wildlife to match, all of which is available here for those who wish to read back through it. For me this year has been one of learning, both in terms of increasing my birding knowledge but also in branching out into new areas including Butterflies, Moths and insects. With those latter categories in particular I have barely touched the tip of the iceberg and will be concentrating on them more fully during the next twelve months.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have stopped by this year to read my blog, leave a comment and encourage me along. It really has been a pleasure and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Barring the end of the world I shall be doing the same throughout 2012 and look forward to sharing more of my experiences from the great outdoors with you all. Happy new year!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Nadolig Llawen

Once more we find Christmas Eve upon us, but it's hard to imagine a greater contrast with what we were experiencing twelve months ago. Where last year there was snow on the ground and temperatures were struggling to get above freezing we now have extremely mild conditions and almost torrential rain. Nevertheless we tried to get out for a bit today and started off by heading over to Kidwelly Quay. On the way we got superb views of a Merlin in Llanelli. It first shot across the road ahead of us and then proceeded to fly through the hedge that borders Tesco as we drove parallel. Not what you'd typically expect to see at the local supermarket!

At Kidwelly the rain was very persistent at times but we still managed to pick out a Peregrine Falcon and a Kestrel on the marsh. Closer in and Lapwings were the most numerous species present along with thirty Teal, seven Greenshank, several Redshank and a Little Egret that was having quite a bit of success in its hunting. We walked a short distance along Kymer's Canal in the hope of spotting a Water Rail but had to make do with some very loud vocalisations from one instead.

Next up was Sandy Water park which to my surprise was almost devoid of waterfowl with the exception of a few Pochard and Tufted Duck. A Little Grebe was fishing very close to shore but it was so overcast that it wasn't worth getting the camera out. The assembled Gulls were split roughly fifty fifty between Black Headed and Herring, but it was nice to see at least ten Common Gulls in amongst them. It seems like only yesterday that the lake was completely frozen over and we were watching a Bittern at close range.

23794 - Sandy Water Park, Llanelli
 Sandy Water park exactly one year ago

I hope you all have a very Happy Christmas (Nadolig Llawen).

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Radiant Rainbows

We still seem to be having an incredibly high number of rainbows this week, more than I can ever remember seeing in fact (that's probably an exaggeration but you get the picture). As I have mentioned previously most of these, including the occasional double, have been witnessed whilst stuck inside the camera barren confines of my workplace. Fortunately a real cracker popped up during my wander around the Llanelli WWT reserve on Sunday when a fast moving shower appeared almost out of nowhere. With the sun catching the tops of the trees and a menacing sky behind it turned out to be the most striking rainbow of them all.

25432 - Rainbow, Llanelli WWT

From my vantage point I was somewhat hemmed in by trees with just a small opening to look through. As a result I couldn't take any alternative landscapes so instead focused in on an area where the rainbow passed behind one of the skeletal trees. This is a shot I've tried a couple of times before, but somehow the colours always seem to lose their vibrancy when committed to film (or in this case memory card). To my relief there was no such issue this time around.

25433 - Rainbow, Llanelli WWT

Within a few minutes the storm had passed by and blue sky had been restored. As I continued to wander around the reserve I found my eye being constantly drawn to the trees whose varied colours and shapes bettered most of what passes as so called art these days. This one in particular could only have been more spectacular if the very branches themselves had been on fire.

25434 - Llanelli WWT

In other news one of the Peregrine Falcons was back at work today, circling my office block in the moments before we were completely enveloped by mist. Although I can't be certain how many of this years family members are in the area it's good to see that at least one of them is making regular return visits.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Feeder Frenzy

After the wind of Saturday it was nice to be in the slightly more sheltered location of Llanelli's WWT reserve on Sunday. As I pulled into the car park I noticed that the feeders featured in one of my posts a couple of weeks ago had been restocked and added to. It was clear that the drop in temperature was starting to bring in a greater variety of birds so I pulled the car into position and got the camera ready. Almost immediately a small group of Long Tailed Tits appeared on the scene and I grabbed what photos I could in the twenty seconds or so before they moved onto their next feeding location. In my experience they are the birds least likely to stay in one place for any amount of time so I am very happy with the results below.

25426 - Long Tailed Tit, Llanelli WWT

25425 - Long Tailed Tits, Llanelli WWT

The Blue Tits were again out in force and seemed particularly fond of a wicker bell shaped feeder that was stuffed with fat and seeds. Trying to capture one of the birds with its head out of the shadow cast by the feeder was a bit of a challenge but I managed it in the end.

25423 - Blue Tit, Llanelli WWT

25428 - Blue Tit, Llanelli WWT

Other visitors included Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Bullfinch, Jay, Great Tit, Coal Tit and of course Chaffinches, although Greenfinches were notable by their absence. I hope that the local population hasn't been hit by trichomonosis again. This male Chaffinch was one of the few that posed out in the sun for me, the rest choosing to feed on the grass which I really don't like photographing against.

25424 - Chaffinch, Llanelli WWT

The most surprising arrival was a pair of Pied Wagtails which although not in the least bit rare are a species that I don't see very often at the reserve.

25431 - Pied Wagtail, Llanelli WWT

Away from the feeders the colder temperatures and the onset of winter are starting to have an effect judging by the large increase in waterfowl since my last count. Wigeon numbers still seem a bit low at around 140 but Lapwings are now well over 200 with Shellducks at around 65. The large flock of Pintails that had been visible from the Heron Wing Hide seem to have departed but Tufted Duck, Pochard and Gadwall numbers have increased to take their place. I was particularly pleased to see one of the Kingfishers back on its post at the Michael Powell hide, something which I'm hoping will be a regular occurrence over the next couple of months. In terms of other winter arrivals the reserve is still very low on Redwing numbers with just five seen in the Millennium Wetlands, but that was more than made up for by the small flock of Redpoll I found feeding on old seed heads towards the end of the day. I still want an opportunity to photograph a Redwing though.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Wind and Waves in Wales

The past week has certainly been a pretty extraordinary one for those of us who have an unhealthy obsession with watching the weather and then telling random people on various social media sites about it in real-time. You name it we've had it from bog standard rain through to sleet, snow and hail mixed in with a smattering of rainbows, the occasional double rainbow, thunder, lightning and lashings of gales. I'd love to have some photos to share with you but most of it has taken place while I've been at work where sadly cameras are banned. Without such restrictions you could have been watching a video of our office windows flexing violently and quite alarmingly in and out during a particularly vicious storm, but alas it is not to be. Fortunately for you the wind was still pretty strong on Saturday and thankfully the National Trust hasn't yet banned cameras on land they own. Therefore feel free to enjoy the sight of pounding waves smashing right over the top of Worms Head on Gower. I can only imagine what it must have been like when the wind was at its strongest.

25413 - Worms Head, Gower

Around the corner from the exposed northern flanks of Worms Head lies Fall Bay which to the relief of my incessantly flapping coat was sheltered from the worst of the wind. With the sun shining down on us and white puffy clouds in the sky it was very pleasant indeed, although I still wouldn't have contemplated surfing as one hardy couple were doing.

25415 - Fall Bay, Gower

However, all illusions of calmness were shattered as soon as we turned to face Tears Point where huge rollers were being driven hard onto the rocks. They were by far the biggest waves I've ever seen on Gower and although heights were difficult to estimate I'd guess at somewhere in the region of five metres plus. We got as close as we dared but somehow the photos just don't do justice to what we were witnessing.

25418 - Waves at Tears Point, Gower

25417 - Waves at Tears Point, Gower

Unsurprisingly much of the bird life was keeping itself well hidden with the exception of the usual Gulls and Oystercatchers. It was however very nice to see several flocks of Linnets moving between Gorse bushes near the coastguard hut as well as a Kestrel sheltering on top of one of the stone walls. Cormorants were out in good numbers including a pair that got spectacularly wiped out by a wave near Tears Point. Over at Mewslade another Kestrel and a Buzzard were being harried by the Jackdaws but it was the Nitten field that really produced the goods. Chaffinches, Bullfinches, Blue Tits and Great Tits were the most numerous inhabitants but the day was stolen by a magnificent pair of Yellowhammers which are always a treat to see. Unfortunately they were a bit camera shy as was a nearby pair of Song Thrushes. The following Mistle Thrush posed beautifully however, and if my memory serves me correctly this is the first photo I have ever taken of one.

25422 - Mistle Thrush, Nitten Field

It was very noticeable just how quiet the coastal path was during our walk now that the summer tourists are a dim and distant memory. They are a vital source of income for the local economy and very welcome but it is nice occasionally to feel like you have the place to yourself. With their departure has come the arrival of the sheep including several rams, one of which was particularly stubborn and looked less than pleased at our presence.

25420 - Ram at Rhossili, Gower

After some reassuring words (to Emma not the sheep) we won the stand-off and sent the ram on its way. To be fair I'd probably have been a bit grouchy as well if my undercarriage had been so exposed on such a cold day.

25421 - Ram at Rhossili, Gower

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Biological Seed Dispersal Agents

Biological seed dispersal agents, or Jackdaws as I prefer to call ours, turned late morning lie-ins into a distant memory for us this past autumn. Where once upon a time we took for granted the peace and quiet of our semi-rural location we now found ourselves under attack from a barrage of hammering. To make matters worse this wasn't any eager beaver DIY enthusiast at the other end of the street either but instead something that sounded a bit like a pneumatic drill on our very own roof. At first we were a bit baffled as to who or what the culprits could be until we started stepping on these all over our garden paths.

25242 - Biological Seed Dispersal

You may think that finding an acorn is not that unusual but we were quite surprised considering that our nearest Oak tree is a good distance away from the house. Closer inspection revealed that most of the acorns had been pecked at by a large beaked bird, and with no visiting Jays our suspicions immediately fell on the ever hungry Jackdaws. Eventually we caught one red handed (footed?) as it arrived with an acorn and proceeded to use our roof as a rather expansive nut cracker.

Despite the disturbance it was great to see one of natures processes in action. Oak trees, like many other plants, rely on birds and animals to carry their seeds away to a location that will hopefully be suitable for germination whilst providing no direct competition to the parent. The most common 'biological dispersal agents' of acorns in this country are Squirrels and Jays, both of which bury huge numbers each year to provide them with a food supply during the cold winter months. Even though Jays in particular have an incredibly high retrieval rate there is always a certain percentage that will remain undiscovered of which a few will eventually grow into new trees. Through this method a single tree can bring new growth to areas many kilometres away from its location, and that's exactly what has happened in our front garden.

25240 - Biological Seed Dispersal

The young sapling above burst out of the soil this year but I imagine the acorn that generated it was probably dropped the previous autumn. It has grown an impressive amount during the intervening months but unfortunately the patch of soil it calls home is right next to the house. As much as I would like an Oak tree to look out at I don't think the buildings foundations would welcome the roots as they start to spread. Instead I shall be transplanting it to the back garden where it can join what I am hoping will eventually turn into a small wooded area.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Fungi and Natural Navigation

I watched a very interesting series on TV recently called "All Roads Lead Home" that introduced three celebrities to the art of natural navigation. For those unfamiliar with the term it describes the way in which it is possible to use our surroundings to determine which way is north and thus hopefully arrive at the intended destination without need for maps or the harassing of passers-by. I'm sure most of us are familiar with some of the basics such as working out the prevailing wind direction based on the shape of nearby trees, but other subtler techniques such as observing on which side of a wall certain lichens grow had never previously occurred to me. Ever since I have been subconsciously looking out for these natural way-pointers when out walking, and in doing so have for example become far more aware of the selective nature of fungi when it comes to choosing a habitat. 

During our trip to Leeds we stumbled across a perfect example of what I am rambling on about in an area known as Clayton Woods. On the way back from partaking in some geocaching we stepped over a long ago fallen tree and noticed the following two species of fungi growing upon it.

25371 - Fungi in Clayton Woods, Leeds

25373 - Fungi in Clayton Woods, Leeds

While both were very fine to look at in their own right it was the positioning of the two species on the log that really caught me eye. They were growing completely apart from each other and on opposite sides of the log as shown below.

25369 - Fungi in Clayton Woods, Leeds

This top down view shows that the bracket type fungi is growing on what appears to be the dryer side of the log (left) whereas the other is in a far damper climate as indicated by the darker colour of the wood and increased moss growth. As an example of species specialisation it is almost perfect, but if I can bring it back to how I started this post it is also a fine aide to the followers of natural navigation. Being in the UK and hence the northern hemisphere our sun rises in the east and sets in the west after taking in the south. As a result the southern surface of objects tend to dry quicker. By contrast those facing north are usually in the shade for much of the time and hence are cooler and damper. With this in mind it is quite clear to see from our log which way is north and which way is south, and also which species of fungi prefers which habitat. Fascinating stuff I think.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Michael Powell Delivers

I only managed to get out for a couple of hours this weekend and spent it all at the local WWT reserve. As my parents were down visiting (and more importantly dropping off Christmas presents) it seemed like the ideal opportunity to once again take in the centres huge Starling murmuration, a spectacle that neither of them had ever seen. Before that though it was the turn of the Michael Powell Hide to deliver with one of the best viewing sessions I have ever had from its draughty confines.

25409 - Llanelli WWT

My Mom had barely been hauled up onto one of the hide's benches (they are very high and she is very short) before the first of three Common Snipe was spotted on the far side of the pond. Scanning along the bank a second was soon in view before our attention was taken by the arrival of a Kingfisher. Its iridescent blue plumage cut through the gloom like a knife through butter as it moved from perch to perch before finally settling on a fence post. It was then the turn of a pair of Greenshank, three Little Egrets, numerous whistling Wigeon and a grooming Grey Heron to keep us occupied until I picked out a distant Sparrowhawk being harried across the marsh by a couple of Crows. When that battle was lost from view we completed the trilogy of Common Snipe, promptly followed by their disappearance over the top of a grassy bank. Above where they had been sat was what I at first thought was the Kingfisher again, only to realise that our bird hadn't moved from its aforementioned post. We had a pair! The question of whether or not they would be tolerant of each other was soon answered with the new arrival promptly chased away. Throughout all of these antics a Water Rail was discreetly swimming back and forth between one of the small islands and the pond edge, the first time I have ever seen one out in open water. As if that wasn't enough we rounded off proceedings with another distant bird of prey in the shape of a Peregrine Falcon perched out towards the estuary.

By now the sun was very low in the sky so we headed over to the Millennium Wetlands to take up position in preparation for the Starlings arrival. Once again Water Rails and Cetti's Warblers were calling from all directions and once again they were impossible to locate. Right on cue the first small groups of Starlings started to appear over the reserve and in no time at all the murmuration was in full swing.

25410 - Starlings, Llanelli WWT

25411 - Starlings, Llanelli WWT

That's where things started to go a bit wrong however. For some reason, possibly due to climatic conditions, the birds went down into the reeds far quicker than we had expected and in a location that we couldn't see clearly. We tried to move closer but by then the show was pretty much over. Nevertheless it was still an impressive if somewhat curtailed display and my parents were more than happy.

As an aside I shall take this opportunity to mourn the passing of one of my oldest and most faithful walking companions, my boots. Originally bought way back in 1999 they have since covered hundreds if not thousands of miles. Not once during that time have I had to waterproof them and not once have they leaked as they took me faultlessly to almost every part of the UK.

25412 - New Boots

Despite their somewhat dilapidated appearance they are still going strong with just a small split to the leather in one side and a loss of the original green colouration. The reason for their replacement lies with the soles which have been worn away to such an extent that they are now almost slick. This not only makes walking harder on the feet but has also significantly reduced grip. Therefore it is with a heavy heart that I relegate them to gardening duty and welcome in a new pair of Mammut Mt Trail GTX's (cool name). Like the old ones they have Gore-Tex technology to aid waterproofing and breathability whilst the memory foam soles and reinforced foot arch should make them very comfortable. All that's left now is to try them out and cover some of that shine in Welsh mud. There's plenty of it around at the moment as well with all this rain we're having.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Return of the WWT Feeders

Our return from Aberystwyth on Monday heralded the arrival of something that had been notable by its absence over the previous few days. With an unfamiliar orange orb shining in the sky our shopping plans were abandoned and instead we headed over to the Llanelli WWT reserve. Our targets were the bird feeders that hang in the car park and allow you to park so close that you basically have your own private hide. Since my last visit this practise has clearly become more popular as I had to wait for another two cars to leave before I could take my place. That delay meant that the sun was already low in the sky by the time I started shooting but the light still had a very nice quality to it.

25407 - Blue Tit, Llanelli WWT

25406 - Great Tit, Llanelli WWT

25408 - Blue Tit, Llanelli WWT

25404 - Blue Tit, Llanelli WWT

25405 - Blue Tit, Llanelli WWT

As you can see from this selection of photos, Blue Tits and Great Tits were by far the most numerous visitors. The mild conditions have yet to force many birds to the feeders but there was still a decent variety including Coal Tit, Robin, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Collared Dove, Wren and Magpie. I was hoping for the appearance of a Woodpecker but with none on offer I have an excellent excuse to pop back again soon.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A Bit Of Purple But Mostly Grey

Considering the fact that I live in Wales this blog has been sorely lacking in castles over the last couple of years. Thankfully I am able to rectify this frankly obscene oversight with the inclusion of a photo of Dryslwyn Castle, built in the 1220's by the princes of Deheubarth and captured by the English in 1287. It was ultimately burnt to the ground in the 15th century to stop it falling back into Welsh hands and has sat watch over the Towy valley ever since.

25388 - Dryslwyn Castle

History aside (although I am a big fan of castles) we were at Dryslwyn not to relive ancient battles but to have a look at the river Towy in the hope of spotting a Whooper Swan or two. Anyone that reads the Carmarthenshire Birds sightings page will probably have noticed that together with Cilsan Bridge this is the best location locally to see these overwintering birds. Sadly we were out of luck on this occasion but made up for it with superb views of a Sparrowhawk circling the castle along with a pair of Ravens and a Red Kite. Out in the flooded fields Curlews, Wigeon, Canada Geese, Lapwings and Mute Swans (of which there were 69 at Cilsan!) could be seen feeding whilst the surrounding bushes were packed with Blackbirds as well as the occasional Redwing and Mistle Thrush. The view wasn't bad either.

25389 - Towy Valley

This tree also grabbed my attention, not because it contained the mega that I am sure I will discover one day but simply because I liked its shape and the dark clouds behind.

25390 - Dryslwyn Castle

Having taken our fill we headed on up the coast to Aberystwyth, my old university town and our base for a relaxing couple of days away from it all that was to include a fantastic evening talk by Chris Packham. The weather upon arrival rather set the scene for the whole weekend with very strong onshore winds and a menacing sky. It was a shame that the high tides weren't at their maximum as even with reduced height the waves were crashing over the promenade.

25394 - Aberystwyth Prom

In such harsh conditions and with all the main feeding areas covered the beach was dotted with small gatherings of Turnstones and Ringed Plovers waiting it out. The best roosting site though has to go to the seven Purple Sandpipers that were tucked away on the sea wall itself where the large facing stones offered a couple of tiny ledges. If you look closely at the picture below you can just about see two of the birds (the white dots) where the walls intersect.

25397 - Purple Sandpiper, Aberystwyth

Photographically they couldn't have picked a worse place to be. The lighting was already terrible out in the open and they were in the shade, the wind was so strong that it was an effort to walk in a straight line and every so often a plume of spray would come shooting over any unsuspecting person who was daft enough to be in the way i.e. me. Nevertheless I persevered and despite pushing my bridge camera to the definitely not recommended heights of ISO400 and hand holding the equivalent of a 400mm lens at 1/30 of a second, I came away with some pleasing results.

25395 - Purple Sandpiper, Aberystwyth

25398 - Purple Sandpiper, Aberystwyth

That was about it for bird photography though there are a couple of sightings that I must mention before I go. The first was a Raven that we spotted carrying an egg in its beak at Clarach Bay, which if you want a clear example of how warm our autumn has been you wont find one much better. The second involves the famous Aberystwyth Starling murmuration at which I finally saw a Peregrine Falcon make a successful catch. The Peregrine is a regular visitor but always seems to be outmanoeuvred, a tradition that looked as if it was to continue on this occasion. That was until it tried a different tact of retreating and then coming in after one of the much smaller straggler groups. The result was one dead Starling and a rather chuffed looking Peregrine. A fantastic town and fantastic birds. What more could you ask for?

25396 - Aberystwyth

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Starling Murmuration at Llanelli WWT

Last Sunday we were at the WWT's Llanelli reserve for a wildlife encounter that sums up this time of year like no other; a huge Starling murmuration featuring in excess of 100,000 birds. Despite visiting regularly for the last couple of years this is the first time that I have heard of there being a murmuration on site, and by all accounts it was not to be missed. Therefore as the sun started to set we headed over to the Millennium Wetlands to take up position and wait for the arrival of the first Starlings, all the while being serenaded by calling Water Rails and Cetti's Warblers.

25378 - Starling Murmuration, WWT Llanelli

After half an hour the first few birds started to appear over the distant tree-line and in no time at all they were circling overhead.

25379 - Starling Murmuration, WWT Llanelli

From that moment on birds were flying in from every direction in ever bigger flocks until the sky was one swirling mass. Their numbers were impossible to estimate but the sound of flapping wings was incredibly loud, only interrupted by the pitter-patter of falling droppings. Needless to say I was trying to shelter under a small tree.

25381 - Starling Murmuration, WWT Llanelli

With the flock seemingly as big as it was going to get the first birds started to spiral down into the reeds. What started as a trickle soon turned into a torrent as thousands upon thousands of Starlings joined the descent. How the reeds were able to hold so many is still a mystery to me, even more so considering that they were almost impossible to see once inside.

25382 - Starling Murmuration, WWT Llanelli


After seeing all of the birds down we turned around to see another huge murmuration of at least the same size again gathering behind us. Amazingly these new arrivals made their way over to us and landed in exactly the same small area of reedbed before the whole lot once more took to the air. They soon settled down again in an area that was a little more out of reach from the footpath.

25384 - Starling Murmuration, WWT Llanelli

There were an amazing number of people present to witness the show, probably more than I have ever seen at the reserve in fact. As it turns out the BBC news website had featured the spectacle quite prominently the day before which has given some great exposure not just for the WWT but also for this most fantastic of spectacles. If you are in the area it is well worth the visit.

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