Today was spent walking from Cwm Ivy to Whitford Point, heading out via the beach and back along Whitford Burrows. My overriding memory of the trip, apart from the incredible haze that we are experiencing at the moment, will be of a simply amazing encounter that I had with two summer plumaged Dunlin. I had spotted them feeding along the shoreline so approached closer to see if I could get any pictures. What I didn’t expect was to be able to get within touching distance of them with seemingly no concern from the birds themselves. My close encounter went on for nearly half an hour as I was constantly pushed back by a rising tide only to have the Dunlin fly towards me and land even closer. At times they tucked their heads away and had a doze, whilst at others they continued to feed or enjoyed a good clean. It was as if I was invisible and I feel privileged to have been able to have such an intimate encounter with these two marvelous birds. Choosing which pictures to post up here has never been so difficult as I literally took hundreds. What follows are just a few of my favourites.
And if any proof was needed of just how tame these birds were then my other half took the following pictures whilst I was taking mine.
The Dunlin were by no means the only birds present. 41 Whimbrels were also feeding nearby and a roost of over 400 Oystercatchers was also present. Scanning the Burry Inlet I got to see my first Sandwich Tern of 2010, and was amazed to see five Gannets heading upstream towards Penclawdd. I have read that Gannets can be seen on the estuary but up until today I had never witnessed them for myself. After reaching Whitford Point we took a long hard slog across the sand to do a spot of sea watching as the tide continued to rise. We were treated to a Little Egret and fifty or so Shellduck before the big hitters arrived in the form of two Dark-Bellied Brent Geese and a raft of eight male and eleven female Eider. Again this is the first time that I have seen Eider on the Burry Inlet and to say I was suitably pleased would be an understatement. Below are a couple of distant pictures.
To round things off nicely a female Common Scoter flew past to complete a rather nice haul of sea birds. The walk back along Whitford Burrows was relatively uneventful apart from a couple of Coal Tits, Goldfinches and Buzzards. The Lapwings were also displaying very well over the various marshes making what I can only describe as their ‘Nintendo’ call. To me it sounds just like they are emulating the sounds from old 8-bit Nintendo games. Of course I could just be mad!