23794 - Sandy Water Park, Llanelli

In a rare show of good people management I was allowed to leave work early today giving me a couple of hours of daylight to spend at Sandy Water Park near Llanelli. The lake there is frozen solid apart from a couple of small areas where water flows in. Unsurprisingly these oasis’s were absolutely packed with what little waterfowl there is left, one being full to bursting point with some thirty Mute Swan. Tufted Duck, Mallard and a single male Pochard made up the numbers on what was a pretty barren scene. There have been reports of a Bittern at this site over the last couple of days which I found very surprising given that the reed beds are somewhat limited and easily accessible by both humans and dogs. Therefore imagine my astonishment when I glanced into the stream past the small wooden bridge and found a Bittern staring out a cat! Fortunately the Bittern saw sense and flew the short distance back towards the lake where it landed on the ice. I managed to get a vantage point from which I could get what would have counted as a superb view in any other winter than this.

23791 - Bitter, Sandy Water Park, Llanelli

Also feeding in the small stream was a very confident Water Rail. Someone had dropped some bread into the water which had attracted the rail and several Moorhens. Despite the dark conditions I somehow managed to fluke some shots that I am absolutely delighted with. This is the first time that I have managed to photograph this species and the results aren’t half bad.

23790 - Water Rail, Sandy Water Park, Llanelli
23789 - Water Rail, Sandy Water Park, Llanelli

Also out on the lake was a Grey Heron that despite having some open water looked distinctly uninterested in doing any fishing. In fact it looked positively grumpy.

23786 - Grey Heron, Sandy Water Park

The trees along the lake shore were full of bickering Redwing and Song Thrushes. Having only seen a couple of Redwing so far this winter it was great to find somewhere with a decent concentration. Despite following them around I didn’t manage to get any photos as they always managed to land just behind a branch or in an area that was simply too dark for my camera. The Black Headed Gulls however were much more obliging as they posed in the sun near the car park.

23781 - Black Headed Gull, Sandy Water Park, Llanelli

For me it’s now time to go and wrap some presents. I would just like to say Happy Christmas to all of my readers and thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a cracking holiday and get revitalised for the coming year.


J · December 24, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Lovely photos!
I had a good day, too: I bumped into a Waxwing in Sketty, and managed a few shots.
Merry Christmas!

Adam Tilt · December 26, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Thanks Jeremy. I saw your Waxwing photos and was very envious. I still haven't seen any yet but I'm ever hopeful.

Unknown · December 29, 2010 at 12:12 am

Enjoyed the tour. The photos are excellent, but my favourite is the grumpy Heron. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Empty Nester · December 29, 2010 at 1:22 am

Absolutely gorgeous photos!

Springman · December 29, 2010 at 2:25 am

Wow, did you ever work that light well. It looks like the Moorhens were walking in and out of the low light and you caught great poses. I also love the scowling Gray Heron. Do Gulls take bad pictures? I admire your writing so much. Great stuff! ;-)WBW

holdingmoments · December 29, 2010 at 5:10 am

Beautiful shots Adam. Great to capture the Bittern, and lovely shots of the Water Rail.
That poor Heron does look a bit fed up. 🙁

Adam Tilt · December 29, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Thanks all for the kind comments. Really missing the snow now as the weather had reverted back to the typical British winter of being wet and grey. I miss that great lighting of the last few weeks.

Gemma Wiseman · December 30, 2010 at 2:02 am

Such an interesting series of photos! And adore the grumpy heron!

Larry · December 30, 2010 at 7:02 am

Superb shots Adam! The Bittern hiding and the fabulous Water Rail shots are beautiful. I must say though, I really like that back lit shot of the Heron. The lighting is exceptional.

Hilke Breder · December 30, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I love the pics of the rail – have never been able to photograph one. Also the great blue heron is tops!

theconstantwalker · January 1, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Beautiful images. The Bittern is a difficult bird to see never mind photograph.

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