I hope you all had a cracking Christmas and suffered nothing more than a bit of weight gain after eating far too much. We deployed our annual combative tradition of heading over to Rhossili for an afternoon walk instead of slouching in front of the TV watching Santa Claus 3 (why on earth have they made three of them?!). The snow was still lying thickly on the ground giving the area an altogether different landscape from the one I am used to.
The causeway over to the Worm was fully exposed during our visit and was playing host to forty or so Golden Plover. They were incredibly flighty but did give us some cracking views as they flew past just yards away. I think this is the first time that I have seen these there so it was certainly a nice Christmas bonus. A large flock of Lapwing were feeding on the grass bank that faces the sea, one of the only open areas of ground to be found. Other than that things were pretty quiet apart from the Oystercatchers and a couple of Cormorants. Two Seals over on the Worm itself were being pretty vocal. No doubt a typical after dinner argument.
Today it was time to do the early winter TTV (timed tetrad visit) for the BTO Bird Atlas project. Normally it is recommended to avoid extreme weather conditions for fear of skewing the results but it has been a bit hard to do that this month. As it was we did pretty well recording twenty nine species in the space of just over an hour. Highlights were a flock of sixty Fieldfare that briefly landed in a tree beneath Weobley Castle and three Little Egrets. It’s good to see some Egrets still about as by all accounts they have been having a pretty torrid time during these freezing conditions.
The Lapwing above was feeding on the grassy area by Bracelet Bay car park on Gower this afternoon along with several more of its kind and a couple of Common Snipe. It really is telling how desperate these birds are now when they are willing to feed in such busy open areas. A berry tree in Sketty was packed with Redwing and a couple of Fieldfare but I have once again turned up a blank on the Waxwing front. There must be one out there for me somewhere surely.