Black-tailed Godwits, Dalton's Point

Monday, February 25, 2013 Adam Tilt 5 Comments


The north Gower coast really has been having an exceptional start to the year if my regular sightings of Barn Owl, Hen Harrier and Great White Egret are anything to go by. It seems there is still more to come however after Rob Jones put me onto the list of birds he'd seen there late on Thursday. It featured several species that I'd yet to see in 2013 so on Saturday evening I headed back out to see what I could find. Fortunately the high tide coincided rather nicely with my arrival at Penclawdd and I spent an hour or so watching the birds being forced towards me. Four Redshank, two Shelduck and a plethora of Gulls (Lesser Black Backed, Herring, Common and Black Headed) accounted for the common species but it wasn't long before a stonking Spotted Redshank turned up. It spent its time around the small boats in Penclawdd Pill and couldn't have performed better from an identification stance, passing as it often did behind a normal Redshank. The difference in bill length was stark. That would easily have been my star bird if not for the male Red-breasted Merganser which swam right past my car. Normally I only get to watch these birds at distance out on the sea, so to get such close views was a real privilege.

Moving on to Dalton's Point I was just in time to catch the last sandbanks disappearing under water, but not before I'd counted two Dunlin, over 140 Pintail, six Wigeon, two Great Crested Grebes, thirty or more Curlew plus the usual throngs of Oystercatcher. What really surprised me though was the flock of at least 120 Black-tailed Godwits feeding just beside the road. The lighting was terrible but my camera's trusty video mode captured the scene well. (Select HD playback for full quality).


With most of the birds now pushed even further up the estuary and out of sight it was time for me to take up position on Llanrhidian Marsh. I didn't have to wait long before I picked up a Short Eared Owl hunting over the reeds. At first it was very distant but over the next half an hour or so I got superb views of an awesome predator doing what it does best; hunting. Eventually I lost it in the murk but almost immediately one of the Barn Owls popped up to take its place, just as a Great White Egret flew by in the background. That's a photo that would have rivalled my Dartford Warbler/Wryneck one for sure!

5 comments:

Frogspawn and Icicles

Sunday, February 24, 2013 Adam Tilt 3 Comments


Just when you thought we had winter firmly rooted in the rear view mirror, back it comes with a vengeance. It's been cold here all week but yesterday hit a new low with the temperature barely struggling above zero. This resulted in a couple of unexpected snow flurries and some impressive ice structures wherever water had been still enough to freeze.

29298 - Ice, Lower Lliw

29299 - Ice, Lower Lliw

These frozen puddles lined the path around the lower Lliw Reservoir and were the only places where snow had managed to settle, however briefly. Out on the water the largest gull roost I have ever seen here consisted of fifty three Lesser Black Backed Gulls and twenty eight Herring Gulls. It'll be interesting to find out if this was a one off gathering, a winter occurrence or the start of something more permanent. Either way it was good to see and rather overshadowed the only other birds present, a very vocal Canada Goose and several Mallards.

The surrounding trees added a little more variety with a calling Nuthatch, perched Sparrowhawk and an overflying Mistle Thrush all putting in appearances. It wasn't until we reached the more open ground between the two reservoirs though that the big hitters arrived with a pair of Ravens, three Buzzards and a single Red Kite all drifting over in quick succession. With huge icicles hanging off the old quarry faces it came as a surprise to find large quantities of frogspawn filling the ditches that line the track. Clearly the weather had not been kind to the upper most layers, but it looks as though the material further down should escape unscathed.

29301 - Frogspawn, Lliw valley

Speaking of icicles it wasn't just the quarries that were well adorned. The small stream that runs down through the valley had one entire bank completely coated in ice. I tried my best to capture the scene but under difficult lighting conditions I just couldn't produce anything to my liking. Instead I went in for some details which included these ice 'columns'. A new one on me.

29303 - Icicles, Lliw valley

Reaching the upper reservoir handily coincided with a slight increase in temperature as my fingers felt like they were literally about to drop off. Definitely not the conditions for holding a camera. On the water all seemed quiet until I spotted a distant duck diving. Moving around the lake it soon became apparent that it was a female Goldeneye fishing right next to, and most likely under, a frozen section of water.

29307 - Upper Lliw Reservoir

The combination of bird and ice was too good an opportunity to miss so we decided to try and make a closer approach using a shall we say, less well trodden path. At first this seemed like a stroke of genius as we stumbled across some interesting ruins that I've never seen before, but then one wrong step had Emma sunk up to her knees in a bog. This was all very funny until it became apparent that she was stuck fast. Fortunately via a combination of digging and pulling we eventually had her out with one considerably muddier and wetter boot still attached. Not quite what I'd planned and as a result I never did get any better views of that Goldeneye.

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Patchwork Challenge 3 - Redwings, Planning Applications and Sunsets

Friday, February 22, 2013 Adam Tilt 2 Comments


At just under two weeks since my last patch outing I was determined to give the area a thorough going over on Sunday afternoon. The sun was shining but with a cold wind blowing across the valley I knew most of the birds would be kept well hidden, and indeed that proved to be the case. I did manage to add one new species to my tally however in the shape of at least two Redwing in trees near the old colliery site. To say I was pleased would be an understatement as they are the first I've seen up there since before November, and will most likely be the last until next winter. More common were the Robins of which three treated me to some extraordinary behaviour on Gopa Hill. I'd already stopped to watch them as seeing three birds in such close proximity at this time of year was bound to result in fireworks, but even I wasn't prepared for what happened next. Two of the Robins flew at each other, locked feet and proceeded to tumble to the ground. There they maintained their embrace, each trying to peck at its opponent whilst attempting to retain the upper hand. Amazingly the third bird took this opportunity to land on a stick just above the battle from where it shouted god only knows what. The whole thing was slightly surreal and although true naturalists discourage anthropomorphism, I couldn't help comparing it to a school yard brawl. In reality that analogy probably isn't too far from the truth and I imagine the victor is pretty pleased with his new territory.

Cefn Drum and Graig Merthyr

From the top of Bryn-bach-Common (which is still lacking in Yellowhammers despite much searching), the view looking across to Cefn Drum was spectacular as ever. For those who don't know the area well, the large flat piece of land on the valley floor used to be the Graig Merthyr colliery up until its closure in the 1970's. Since then the buildings have been cleared, shafts blocked and spoil tips removed, but the area remains a wasteland and an unfortunate draw to ne'er-do-wells. I was therefore quite interested to read recently that the Environment Agency are planning to build new water controls here to alleviate flooding in downstream Pontarddulais. However I hadn't quite appreciated the full scale of their plans until I saw this planning notice which has recently gone up.

P1040142 - Planning, Graig Merthyr

One key phrase stood out immediately; "creation of wetland habitat". Now that sounded very interesting and depending on its scale could offer a real boost for biodiversity in the area. Sure it'll be too late to have any impact on this years Patchwork Challenge, but in the future? This evening I've been trawling through the planning application in detail and I've got to say that I'm seriously impressed. Not only will the new wetland be a potential draw to wildlife but the intention is to also completely re-landscape that flat area with trees and extensive reseeding. Considering the last proposal I saw for here was a Halal meat factory, colour me seriously impressed.

 photo graigmerthyrplans_zps7b402ceb.jpg
 Copyright remains with the original architects. Full details here, planning application 2012/1649.

The plans above show the rough details of the areas involved and I shall be keeping a close eye on progress in the coming months. I can't imagine that they will receive any serious objections so the sooner they get going the better!

Of course with such a clear day it would have been remiss of me not to include a sunset. This one turned out to be a real belter including a fantastic new view looking across to Gopa Hill.

P1040149 - Sunset from Cefn Drum

P1040155 - Sunset over Gopa Hill

38/68 (2013/2012)

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Kenfig - Water Everywhere

Thursday, February 21, 2013 Adam Tilt 1 Comments


In all the years that I've been visiting Kenfig NNR, Sunday was the very first opportunity I've ever had to photograph this 'classic' view. For once all the important elements of a blue sky, high water level and no people combined to kick start what turned out to be a very productive day.

Kenfig Pool

I guess we should start with waterfowl seeing as we're already at the pool, my personal highlights of which were a pair of courting Great Crested Grebes and at least nine Goldeneye. I say at least because every time I looked up another couple had appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. Not that that's a bad thing of course given that they're easily my favourite winter ducks. Far more numerous were the Tufted Ducks and Pochards, the latter being particularly pleasing as I get the distinct impression that we've been seeing less and less of them locally in recent years. A couple of Gadwall and Mallard plus four very flighty Shovellers rounded things off.

Since my last visit goose numbers have noticeably increased with upwards of forty eight Canada Geese now grazing the banks along with a new Greylag to keep the resident bird company. I wonder how long until we see the first chicks? As usual all of this activity was far too distant for my camera but I did manage a very pleasing shot of a Common Gull perched on one of the sunken fences.

P1040119 - Common Gull, Kenfig NNR

One species that seemingly couldn't get close enough were a family of three Mute Swans. They obviously thought that we had food and I didn't quite have the bravery to let them know that I'd already eaten it. Fortunately they took this disappointment in their stride and even posed for a couple of head shots.

P1040126 - Mute Swan, Kenfig NNR

P1040125 - Mute Swan, Kenfig NNR

Walking along the waters edge was a very muddy affair given the large quantity of rain that we've already had this year, and it came as no surprise that we couldn't even make it to the furthest hide. Our efforts were rewarded though with great views of three Common Snipe erupting from the reeds. There's also the possibility that Emma saw one of the Bitterns coming into land, but as I didn't let's just gloss over that. Fortunately we both made no mistake when it came to the Black-necked Grebe which is still showing very well after sticking around for the last few weeks. 

The theme of excess water was one repeated out in the dunes where I have never seen the area quite so flooded. Huge inland seas have been created between the dunes themselves with even the haul road flooded in places. It was a most impressive and somewhat alien landscape given that we normally associate sand dunes with heat and drought.

Flooded Dunes, Kenfig NNR

Unsurprisingly birds were quite thin on the ground in these areas but the little vegetation there was held several of these caterpillars. I believe they belong to the Fox Moth whose caterpillars are apparently the largest and hairiest found in the country. They feed themselves up between June and September, overwinter in leaf litter until spring and them emerge to sun themselves before pupating. I presume the unusual occurrence of a clear day had encouraged them out of hiding to do just that. Certainly none looked to be in a hurry.

P1040138 - Caterpillar, Kenfig NNR

Out at Sker Point the low tide meant that what waders there were had moved off into the distance though we still managed to pick out several Curlew and Oystercatcher. A lot closer were three Stonechats which seemed to be competing for territory, whilst over at the farm three Mistle Thrushes and a flock of Starlings were feeding until a stunning Sparrowhawk put them all into flight. While on the subject of the farm I spent another fruitless half hour scanning for the Little Owls which I know are there somewhere but never seem able to locate. We became convinced that a rock in one of the barn windows was an owl, but in the end couldn't be confident enough to say for certain. It probably didn't help that it refused to move a single inch (which I guess it wouldn't if it really was a rock!). To finish off we popped by the feeding point between the car parks and were delighted to see two Yellowhammers amongst the eight Reed Buntings. A real star bird anywhere though especially at Kenfig where they have become virtually extinct.

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Bullfinch Surprise

Sunday, February 17, 2013 Adam Tilt 13 Comments


I made a long overdue visit to the WWT Llanelli reserve yesterday on what turned out to be probably one of their busiest days. I've never seen quite so many people milling about the place which although very good news for the charity did make my job of finding a quiet spot slightly more difficult than usual. Even the Michael Powell hide was chocker so instead I elected to stand outside and watch the feeders for a while. Normally these deliver the usual Blue Tits and Chaffinches but today was to be no ordinary day. Within just a few minutes a pair of Jays had put in a brief but noisy appearance, a Mouse had darted within a couple of meters of my feet and this Robin was singing its little heart out at a similar distance.

P1040105 - Robin, WWT Llanelli

The real star was still waiting in the wings though and when the moment was right it hopped into view above my head. There's really no mistaking a male Bullfinch and in the grey light this one was a much needed injection of colour.

P1040094 - Bullfinch, WWT Llanelli

With a record shot in the bag I was pretty happy and fully expected it to head off back into the undergrowth. The Bullfinch clearly had eyes only for the feeders however as it swiftly dropped down onto a branch within striking distance. Unfortunately for me it was now obscured from view and with a family rapidly approaching up the path it seemed that our time together was over. But no. In a rare show of tameness this male instead hopped even closer giving me just a few seconds to focus the camera before it really did head for the hills. This one came out rather well considering.

P1040099 - Bullfinch, WWT Llanelli

The plentiful supply of food had also clearly inspired one particularly amorous male Chaffinch which I watched give an extraordinary courtship display. From its perch above the female it produced a gurgling call whilst moving its head from one side of the branch to another. This is the first time I have seen such behaviour although sadly the female wasn't impressed and it was all for nought in the end.

When I finally did make it into the hide there were plenty of Wigeon and Lapwing on display but disappointingly only a couple of Redshank. I really must stop visiting at low tide. Thanks to the clear air I could at least look down to the estuary where several Brent Geese and hundreds of Oystercatchers were feeding. It was also good to see a Curlew relatively close along with the requisite Little Egrets, Teal and Cormorants. Over at the Boardwalk hide I was surprised to see that the Greylag Geese had been joined by six Canada Geese. That's easily my biggest count of the latter at the reserve and it'll be interesting to see if they stay around to breed.

P1040107 - Greylag Goose, WWT Llanelli

On the back straight a Great Spotted Woodpecker was a very welcome sight, even if it did choose to stop at the top of the highest tree for miles around. You can't have everything though which on this trip included dipping on a pair of Bramblings which have been recent visitors to the centre's main feeders. I hoped for better luck at a favoured spot of Water Rails and was indeed treated to at least six birds calling from various points in the reeds. They kept themselves well hidden but I'm always pleased just to know that they're there.

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Moth Trap Baptism

Saturday, February 16, 2013 Adam Tilt 2 Comments


P1040111 - First run for my self-built moth trap

I've been waiting well over two years to write this post (mostly due to my own procrastination I'll freely admit), but finally I've managed to run a moth trap in our garden. The trap in question is one of my own design, built on a budget with no fancy bulbs or parts, and last night was its very first test. The big question was would it catch anything or would it simply light up the garden for a few hours and annoy the neighbours? To my complete astonishment it turned out to be the former. Caught within was this Chestnut moth or Conista vaccinii for those who like a bit of Latin to spice up their evening.

P1040076 - Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii)

P1040084 - Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii)

Now you may say that a single moth haul is not that impressive, but considering the time of year and that last night was rather chilly it's really a resounding success. In truth I hadn't expected to catch anything especially as there are still a couple of modifications needed to the trap itself. At least this proves that the core design is sound and I should be raring to go when spring arrives proper. All I need to do now is figure out how to get the lens hood off my camera as the shadow it casts is really making macro photography difficult!

2 comments:

Longer Days

Friday, February 15, 2013 Adam Tilt 6 Comments


This evening marked a significant moment in what I like to think of as my own personal calendar of seasonal events. For the first time in months I was able to get home from work and out onto my local patch with light still in the sky. I even managed to catch the tail end of a pretty decent sunset, which after the weather February has brought us so far should really be labelled as the greatest sunset in the world.

P1040063 - Sunset from Gopa Hill

P1040069 - Sunset from Gopa Hill

Regular readers may recognise the feature tree in these shots from last year and I make no apology for using it again here. It's by far the most photogenic foreground I've found on Gopa Hill and I really love seeing its bare branches at this time of year. There are of course a whole host of other shots floating around in my mind for the wider area, and weather permitting I'll hopefully be bringing them to this blog in due course.

While I was up there I couldn't help noticing how loud the early evening has now become. After the almost deathly silence of winter it's a real pleasure to hear the birds calling once more, whether that be Robins singing, Great Tits swearing or the almost continuous sound of Blackbird alarm calls. On the subject of Blackbirds their numbers seem to have really rocketed since last week with at least eight individuals seen in just a tiny area. One small tree alone held a group of four with many more hidden in the surrounding vegetation. I imagine that now things are beginning to warm up they are starting to spread back into these higher altitudes to breed and reduce competition for food elsewhere.

I did of course keep my eyes open for any new species to add to my patchwork challenge but, apart from a possible calling Green Woodpecker, my species count remains unchanged. Rather tantalisingly I did see a Tawny Owl flying over fields near Pontlliw last night, though sadly a couple of miles too far away to count. Still a great bird to see and very good news that they are still in the area.

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Glaucous Gull at Wernffrwd

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 Adam Tilt 2 Comments


In a startling turn of events this weekend consisted predominantly of rain, followed by drizzle, followed by more rain. Indeed I may have foregone any venture in an outdoors direction if not for a rather timely tweet from Rob Jones. His 140 characters told of a Glaucous Gull tucking into an animal carcass out on the marsh by Wernffrwd church, a species I've been wanting to catch up with for a while. There's been an individual off Whiteford Point recently and I presumed this to be the same bird with the added advantage that in its current position it would be viewable from the car. I duly set off and upon arriving at the designated spot had absolutely no trouble picking out the Gull. In the flesh it's a real brute of a bird and definitely lived up to expectations.

P1040062 - Glaucous Gull, Wernffrwd

As this record shot shows it looked to have had its fill of the carcass and was just standing around on the marsh. I ventured as close as I dared but given the conditions I was never going to get any photos to write home about. Jeff Slocombe and Peter Morgan arrived not long after and we had a good chat during which the Glaucous Gull headed off towards Crofty. It returned not long after I'd left and was reported to still be present on Sunday morning. A cracking bird, a new life tick and the sum total of my weekends birding.

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Feral Pigeon Variations

Friday, February 08, 2013 Adam Tilt 3 Comments


I see Feral Pigeons on an almost daily basis and usually spare them not much more than a casual glance. I'm sure most people are the same but that's all changed for me since Winterwatch featured Adam Rogers and his 'Feral Pigeon Project'. People with obscure wildlife projects always grab my attention, this one more so than most as it's focussing on a question that I've often wondered myself. Why is there such a large colour variation in our Feral Pigeon population?

Feral Pigeons are all descended from the Rock Dove which was long ago domesticated by humans and selectively bred to create many different varieties. Inevitably these birds slowly escaped and, being the hardy creatures that they are, started to thrive in our urban environments. At this point typical science dictates that over the years the now feral population should have slowly reverted back to its original plumage. That has clearly not happened as any city centre can attest to. Where it gets really interesting is that at present no one is really sure why this is happening. One theory is that an individual actively seeks out another of differing plumage with which to breed. In doing so they combine each others genetic material to produce offspring which are diverse from their parents and thus more likely to avoid the disease susceptibility and deformities that can result from inbreeding. The by-product is the continued existence of colour variation within the population.

Adam's project aims to gather as much information about the current state of Feral Pigeons as possible in an effort to help understand this and other aspects of how humans and the environment are affecting them. To aid his research he has created a survey through which members of the public can report which of seven common colour variations they see. I duly took up his challenge.

29242 - Feral Pigeon (Blue Bar)

First up at Sandy Water Park was the Blue Bar individual above. This is the closest variety to the original Rock Doves and we counted four.

29246 - Feral Pigeon (Chequer))

29245 - Feral Pigeon (Chequer)

Next up was the more numerous Chequered variety of which we saw eight. Interestingly this matches with other reports from around the country where Chequered birds are by far the most common.

29248 - Feral Pigeon (Black)

Last but not least were the three Black birds which I have to say were the most amorous of the three. They were constantly chasing the others around and as a result were very tricky to get on camera through the gloom. One thing was for sure though in that they always tried to draw the attention of individuals with a different colouration, as did the Blue Bars and Chequers. Only very occasionally did one turn to another of its kind, which may very well have been as a result of hormones running wild. It's not conclusive evidence with such a small sample group but I find it fascinating and shall certainly be adding more records to Adams project over the coming months.

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Patchwork Challenge 2 - Grey Partridge: The return

Monday, February 04, 2013 Adam Tilt 2 Comments


I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours out on patch this afternoon between work, window fitters and heavy rain showers that featured nowhere in the forecast. My aim was to try and find a couple of new species for the Patchwork Challenge as let's face it, one visit during the whole of January is not going to win me any prizes (Competitive? Me?). A flyover Sparrowhawk made for an encouraging start as they are an annual sighting here at best. The presence of so many small birds suggest that at least one individual is probably resident, but if so it certainly does a good job of hiding away. Sharing its airspace were the usual Raven pair and at least one Red Kite, plus the first of what was to be my largest ever count of Mistle Thrushes on patch. A further flock of twelve and one pair made for a very pleasing fifteen birds in total.

All of the above were seen from the valley floor whereas my main focus for the day was to be Cefn Drum. This hulking mass makes up the wilder and considerably hillier northern side of my chosen study area, a place that can be a bit barren at the best of times. Today was no different with a cold wind hardly encouraging a lengthy stay. However, being the good birder that I am I kept at it and was ultimately rewarded with three silent Skylarks scurrying for cover. Pushing further north revealed nothing else so instead I dropped back down to the river for a spot of Dipper hunting. As with my previous search I drew a blank but did manage to disturb a bird whose identity initially baffled me. Watching its rear retreat down the valley and into heavy undergrowth is never the best for identification purposes, but my first instinct was to go for a Snipe or Woodcock. The lack of a long beak was the only flaw in that plan though the side to side flight and squarish wings weren't a million miles away. Colour wise it was predominantly brown with a very red tail and a walk that was much like that of a Partridge. Could it really be? A quick look at the reference books confirmed that somehow I'd managed to relocate one of the Grey Partridge's from last year.

 photo cefndrumpartridgecopy_zpsd150dce6.jpg

The map above shows Cefn Drum in its entirety with the the number '1' indicating the rough locality in which I saw Grey Partridge last year. The number '2' shows today's sighting so I think it's highly likely that this was one of the same birds. As I've mentioned before I can't verify the origin of these birds but with such a small population now clinging on in Wales it would be brilliant if they were able to survive.

Rounding off the day were a pair of Jays, two Goldfinches and at least ten Meadow Pipits. That takes me up to 36 species and 37 points. Very nice.

37/68 (2013/2012)

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Foggy Birding - Goldeneye, Hen Harrier and more

Sunday, February 03, 2013 Adam Tilt 2 Comments


The view that greeted me this morning was one of unrelenting bleakness. Gone was the sunshine of Saturday and in its place sat a thick blanket of fog which obscured even our own street from view. The call of my duvet was a force hard to resist but having just registered to do the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge I knew that lazy days couldn't feature in my plans any longer. It was obvious that a walk across the hills was out of the question so instead we headed down to Sandy Water Park. Often these urban green spaces can deliver a few nice surprises in conditions such as these, and indeed today was to be a perfect case in point. First up was a flock of Greylag Geese next to the approach road which, although I've not checked back through my records, I think is probably a new species for me at the site. The lush green grass was clearly to their liking and they accepted our presence without even a second glance. In fact the only time they did acknowledge us was when I moved in closer and they started to approach me, no doubt hoping I was about to start feeding them. Probably not the wildest of birds in that case, but what Greylags are?

29235 - Greylag Goose, Sandy Water Park

29234 - Greylag Goose, Sandy Water Park

29236 - Greylag Goose, Sandy Water Park

Out on the lake it was nice to see a decent selection of waterfowl present with a female Goosander definitely being the pick of the bunch. Tufted Ducks were also showing in good numbers along with the requisite Little Grebe and Mallards, but rather strangely there wasn't a single Gadwall to be seen. The only individual we did find was a male over on nearby Old Castle Pond where it was being kept company by a couple of Teal and at least six Shovellers. Perhaps the lack of dogs running willy nilly into the water there is making it a more attractive proposition over the increasingly popular main park? Saying that there was a female Goldeneye at Sandy although it did tend to keep away from the banks.

29237 - Goldeneye, Sandy Water Park

Keeping its distance was certainly not something that one of the regular Cormorants had on its mind, fishing as it was within a metre of the path. I've never seen one quite so accommodating despite being followed by a lunatic with a camera.

29240 - Cormorant, Sandy Water Park

One of the Pochard also showed a similar lack of concern as it drifted past us while pretending to be asleep. Despite waiting that beak only put in one brief appearance which, of course, was just after I'd turned the camera off. Nevertheless a cracking bird with amazingly intricate plumage, even in the grey light.

29241 - Pochard, Sandy Water Park

To cap the day off we headed down to Llanrhidian marsh to watch the birds coming in to roost. I did the same yesterday and was once more treated to superb views of at least one Barn Owl hunting and the Great White Egret joining its smaller cousins in one of their favoured trees. Those two species have become as regular as clockwork of late which is fantastic, but there was a third party which I was also gagging to see. I knew they were there as they've been reported regularly on the local sightings page, but so far I'd come away empty handed. The only conclusion I could reach that we'd been arriving too late in the evening so made a point of turning up at three instead of our usual four today. Low and behold it wasn't long before we were watching three Hen Harriers quartering the marsh, one of which was a stunning male whose lighter plumage positively shone through the murk. Despite being regular visitors here during the winter they are still an absolute joy to behold and have to rank right up there in my top ten birds.

29231 - Llanrhidian Marsh
Llanrhidian marsh from the car on a sunnier day

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