#pwc2016 High Tide Goodies
At risk of repeating myself as another month reaches its conclusion, where on earth has the time gone? It only seems like yesterday that I was bemoaning my lack of visits to both local patches and yet, with March knocking at the door, I find myself in little better shape. Actually that's not strictly true as I did manage to squeeze in one highly successful outing to the Upper Loughor a couple of weeks ago, notable both for its birds and complete lack of light. Honestly, a torch would not have gone amiss. Admittedly that might be a slight exaggeration but it was nevertheless seriously dull and despite a brief moment where the sun threatened to break through, that was how things remained for the rest of the day. Quite what effect this would have on the days birding was anyone's guess but things got off to a promising start with a flock of some thirty thrushes feeding on festival field. Most were Redwing with a couple of Song and Mistle Thrushes thrown in for good measure, yet once again Fieldfares eluded us. They weren't the only ones up and about either as a Nuthatch and several Goldcrest made their presence felt in hedges bordering the main road. Never let it be said that nature does not make use of every opportunity afforded to it, no matter the surroundings. More Redwings greeted our arrival at Castell ddu Farm with at least eight individuals spread out beneath the conifers though none were willing to entertain anything like an approach.
All this though was just a precursor to the main event which today was led by an extremely high tide. In fact there was only just enough dry land to squeeze around onto the footpath, an exercise which caused the mass exodus of Teal and Shelduck in their hundreds. I'd always presumed that such conditions would have brought the birds in but I never expected quite as high a density as this and quickly found myself in second heaven as I scanned through the masses. Over four hundred Lapwing, thirty Canada Geese, Little Grebe, four Little Egrets, singles of Redshank and Greenshank, seven Cormorants including a couple in stunning breeding plumage, Great Crested Grebe, Curlew and all the usual Gull species. I could see my patchwork tally ballooning before my very eyes, and yet more was to come. Perched out in the reeds was a grumpy looking Peregrine Falcon, overhead Buzzards called and from the muddy shore shot a quartet of twittering Skylarks. For someone who has spent the last four years flogging a rewarding yet often slightly barren patch this felt like finally hitting the mother-load. Yet within an hour it was all done, the tide having dropped at least a couple of meters taking with it most of the birds. If I'd not been so engrossed in my birding I'd have taken a photo or two of the gathering but instead will have to make do with one from after the event had finished. At least it should give a sense of where we were and I promise you'll be seeing a lot more from here over the coming months, hopefully accompanied with a little sun if the weather gods decide to play ball.