I have spent the last couple of evenings getting back into birding on my local patch, something which I have very much neglected recently. My first outing was on Wednesday and got off to a good start with a Green Woodpecker sitting on the grass, followed shortly after by another flying across the bracken. The local Swallows were out feeding on the evening insects while the corvids were well represented by 7 Rooks, 20 Crows, numerous Jackdaws and a single Raven. The rest of the valley floor was pretty quiet apart from the occasional Meadow Pipit so I headed up the side to the top of Cefn Drum. On the way up I encountered 3 Stonechats and a Skylark before disturbing a Buzzard which had been sat in the undergrowth. Although I was initially disappointed that I had put it into the air it did treat me to a slow fly-past catching the light beautifully in the process. Once at the top I had a quick scan of the horizon before spotting a bird of prey in the distance. I was immediately struck by how blue-grey it was in colour and could just about make out darker patches on the ends of its wings. My initial thought was of a Merlin but the distance was too great unfortunately to rule out a Peregrine Falcon. Either way it represents a new species of raptor for the valley. As the sun started to set the view down the Burry Inlet was absolutely stunning.
I spent another hour or so in the valley on Thursday and once again encountered a couple of Green Woodpeckers, possibly the same pair as before. The main difference this time though was that one of the birds was actually in a tree! As we headed on my eye was caught by something shiny in the stream. It turned out to be just a white rock but stood a little further along was a Dipper engaged in some full on dipping and underwater feeding. Fantastic. Moments later my partner spotted a bird of prey coming in from the west. It turned out to be a Buzzard being closely followed by a Peregrine Falcon. Whether this makes the mystery raptor from Wednesday less likely to be a Merlin I am not sure. Is it possible that there could be so many different species in such a small area? I really hope that it is.