This weekend I realised that it was getting on for over a month since I last visited the local WWT site at Llanelli. Given that I had been making weekly visits for the last six months or so this proved a bit of a shock so on Saturday it was time to pay a visit and see how the arrival of spring had impacted the site.
The most obvious signs of spring for me were the loss of the couple of hundred Widgeon and the arrival of several hundred very noisy and very territorial Black Headed Gulls. I was quite sad to see the Widgeon go after having seem them arrive last year and watched them develop into their full breeding plumage. There numbers had been in steady decline over my last few visits so their complete absence did not come as a major shock. Their departure has been made up for if not in beauty then certainly in volume. The islands outside the Boardwalk Hide in the center of the reserve are a favourite spot for the Gulls to build their nests and raise their young. Numbers are already nearing the three hundred mark with a good proportion already sitting on nests. I was also very pleased to see what appeared to be a few Lapwings also sitting on nests. I was not aware that these birds nested at the site and given that their population and breeding numbers have been suffering over recent years in the surrounding area this is great news. I will keep a close eye on them over the next few weeks and hope to see some young soon.
Elsewhere spring was further evident with a couple of Sand Martins arriving back and feeding over the pool in front of the Goodalls Hide. These were also joined by a small flock of Swallows. No sign of the Swifts yet but the day must be close. A good number of Chiffchaffs were heard calling around the grounds but with the leaves back on the trees gaining sightings is proving increasingly difficult. On the wader front the Black Tailed Godwits were showing in very good numbers with about 250 on the grass behind the British Steel Hide. Nestled in amongst the flock were a few Sandling and a single Dunlin. The highlight though has to be the small flock of waders in front of the Observatory. This consisted of five Redshank, three Greenshank and three Spotted Redshank in their full black summer plumage! I have never seen these three species together before so this was a real treat in terms of the ability to compare the varying features. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures as it was hammering down with rain and they were too far away in any case.
Further sightings out on the reserve included Siskin, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher and a couple of Mediterranean Gulls. All in all an excellent day out and hopefully my next visit wont be quite so far away.