This weekend I travelled over to the Ogmore estuary again to see what was about. I was mainly hoping to see Purple Sandpipers for only the second time ever but had no luck. What was there though was fairly spectacular. The lower estuary saw my first ever Water Pipit on the north side of the river. Ironically we had just been talking about one being seen up at the WWT site when we spotted this example. The main differences that I could see were the colour of the legs that are far lighter than that of the Rock Pipit, but no where near as bright as the orange legs of the Meadow Pipit. The Water Pipit also has a much paler underside which is very visible. There were also a couple of Turnstones mixed in with numerous Redshanks. Up at Portobello island was a very pleasent surprise; four female and a magnificent male Goldeneye. Other than sightings on Mull and the immature at Ynys Hir a few months ago this is a very unusual bird to see. The diving birds were further well catered for with a male and female Goosander and at least four Little Grebes up by the bridge. I had begun to think that the Grebes had all vanished from the area but it seems that they have just moved house.
Up at the castle the Kingfisher was again in fine form and thirty or so Curlews were feeding out on the flooded fields. Further upriver at the Watermill was the very unusual sight, in this country at least, of three different swan species together. The Whooper was still present and has obviously decided to see out the winter here, along with twenty or so Mute Swans and a single Black Swan. I know some people don’t count the Black Swan as a ‘wild’ species but in my books if it can survive and fly then its wild.
On Sunday we headed to the WWT at LLanelli in some very cold weather. The scrapes were well populated with several hundred Lapwing and fifteen or so Dunlin. Right opposite the hide a single Grey Plover was showing extremely well. I missed the Spoonbill for another week as it had gone before I got there. Better look next time. Elsewhere on the site were five Bullfinch and a Kestral worrying the birds at the feeders. In all 45 species were seen. I’m wondering if it would be worth posting a full list each week so I am going to give it some thought in order to make it not quite so time consuming.