Ducks, Hammers and Longer Days

Friday, February 28, 2014 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


It seems wrong to start the weekend with this blog headed by two articles on creatures which have sadly passed, so how about a male Pochard to remind us that there is still plenty of the living out there to see.

P1060905 - Pochard, Llanelli WWT

This accommodating individual kept us company during an hours watch from the Peter Scott hide at Llanelli WWT along with another six of his compatriots, and while a total of seven Pochard may not sound that impressive it represents a very decent count for the species locally. Indeed the whole pool seemed to be packed with ducks, something I've been longing for all winter and which was topped off with a mighty count of fourteen Shoveller. Also present were Tufted Duck (15), Gadwall (6), Shelduck (6), Cormorant (11), Little Egret (4), Little Grebe (2), Black Tailed Godwit (1), Lapwing (2) and a small flock of Teal including one male with a perfectly white back of the head. I only managed a brief view as it landed before quickly swimming out of sight but that strange colouring stood out a mile and was certainly a new one on me. The most likely cause is partial leucism as with the Chaffinch we saw a couple of years ago at Langorse lake so keep an eye out if you happen to visit. I should also mention that the main reason for popping over on Sunday was in the hope of seeing a Bittern which has been putting in occasional appearances of late. Ever since moving here I've been trying to spot one of these elusive birds there but once again we were to leave empty handed. In a way that's probably for the best as what's life without a challenge anyway?

Bringing things bang up to date and today marked something of a significant moment in my nature calendar. For the first time this year I was able to leave work at a normal time and get out onto the patch before the sun had set. Words can't describe the benefit being able to do this has on ones soul and tonight's brief excursion came with the added bonus of four Yellowhammers beneath Cefn Drum. I first picked up the group by their calls as they flew overhead before alighting in a tree which I presume was to be their roost for the evening. Not only are these my first Yellowhammers of the year they also represent my largest single grouping for quite some while. Hopefully this signals a good year ahead for them, no doubt helped by having had such a mild winter.

P1060937 - Yellowhammers, Cefn Drum

On such an auspicious evening it was perhaps appropriate that the weather gods should finally have put down their battle axes and presented us with an evening of glorious sunshine. Even though there was a chill to the air the evocative pinkish glow cast by a setting sun reminded me that spring is just around the corner and with it comes another endless array of possibilities. Even the birds seemed attuned to the approaching change with a Buzzard climbing into the air only to dive steeply back down to earth time after time and at least three Pheasants calling noisily to each other across the valley. Let's hope for many more evenings such as this in the months ahead.

P1060940 - Sunset from Cefn Drum

38 Species / 39 Points

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