Burry Brents and Buntings

Thursday, February 19, 2015 Adam Tilt 2 Comments


More Windows 8 related pain left me an increasingly frustrated figure come Sunday afternoon (though fingers crossed I've finally fixed my problems) so I just had to get out for a few hours birding. Pembrey Harbour was destination of choice where the plan was to walk along the beach to Burry Port and beyond, a surprisingly productive stretch of sand with great views across the Burry Inlet. Four or five Teal got things off to a good start in Pembrey Harbour itself, closely followed by a solitary Redshank and three Ringed Plovers out on the large sand bank. Also roosting there were upwards of seventy Oystercatchers (a relatively small number for here but the high tide which brings them in was still several hours away) as well as a small group of ten Brent Geese. The latter were my first of the year and given their close proximity allowed for a couple of decent photos before someone drove a power boat right at them. Thanks for that whoever you were.

P1110094 - Brent Geese, Burry Port

P1110096 - Brent Geese, Burry Port

P1110097 - Brent Geese, Burry Port

With the Geese gone and no sign of their imminent return it was on to Burry Port (Mute Swans, Pied Wagtails but not a lot else) before we could regain the beach on its opposite side. There a pair of Sanderling, another year tick, were doing their best to avoid walkers and dogs but thankfully paid little attention to the strange person crouched down with a camera.

P1110102 - Sanderling, Burry Port

This stretch of coast still carries the scars of last years winter storms with erosion having taken at least a couple of meters of land in places, not to mention exposing the industrial underbelly of waste that bellies this areas recent past. Large lumps of slag from numerous iron works scatter the foreshore, many consisting of brilliant colours and shapes, but that hasn't prevented the natural rhythm of life continuing. Cormorants fly overhead, people are out enjoying the bracing fresh air and the trailing suction hopper dredger Sospan Dau still plies her trade.

P1110098 - Looking across to Llanelli

P1110103 - Sand Extraction, Burry Port

A Rock Pipit, Stonechat and Meadow Pipits kept things ticking over on the bird front until a sizeable flock of eight Reed Buntings at Tywyn Bach. Conscious of the appearance of a Little Bunting at Cardiff recently I gave them all a good check over, just in case, but had to make to do with our own resident variety. Not that this is a bad thing as I find Reed Buntings immensely satisfying to photograph. There's just something about their intricately detailed plumage and behaviour which has always appealed.

P1110116 - Reed Bunting, Burry Port

P1110112 - Reed Bunting, Burry Port

Eventually I had to tear myself away despite the possibility of there having been a Lesser Redpoll amidst the group. We only managed brief views of the individual in question before it was gone but clearly saw a smaller, stubbier beak and blander plumage. It's been a good while since our last encounter with the species but for now this will have to go down as one that got away.

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