With most peoples attention focused on the Blue Winged Teal and Little Gull at Sandy Water Park it is very easy to overlook the more common species that call this lake home. During my visit last weekend I spent an hour or so walking its perimeter while waiting for the crowd of birders that were watching the Teal to disperse. Due to the constant presence of people with bags of bread many species that are usually to be found a good distance away are much more accommodating. A good example of this was the following male Pochard. Check out the intricate patterns on its back!

24049 - Pochard, Sandy Water Park, Llanelli

This pair of Gadwall (male top, female bottom) were a little bit more wary but still came much closer than I am used to.

24060 - Gadwall, Sandy Water Park, Llanelli
24062 - Gadwall, Sandy Water Park, Llanelli

My favourite birds on the water though were the Tufted Ducks. Somehow they always seem to have a mischievous look in that fantastic yellow eye, and with spring in full flow their tufts are in peak condition.

24053 - Tufted Duck, Sandy Water Park, Llanelli
24055 - Tufted Duck, Sandy Water Park, Llanelli
24058 - Tufted Duck, Sandy Water Park, Llanelli

Around the reed beds several Moorhen and Coot were skulking with at least one pair of Moorhen looking like they were starting to build a nest. Typically they kept out of view as much as possible with the exception of the following Coot who was not only stood out in the open but went through a whole series of stretching exercises and poses for the camera. Interestingly I have never noticed the red and yellow mark on the very top of a Coot’s leg until looking at these photos.

24066 - Coot, Sandy Water Park, Llanelli

Waterfowl were not the only birds present. Overhead 16 Sand Martins were swooping and calling through the air as they fed on the swarms of flies that are now hatching out. It really is fantastic to have their calls filling the air once more. Chiffchaffs were also in fine voice though remained elusive in the vegetation, but I did clap eyes on several Reed Buntings. A pair of Goldfinch were in the same place as my last visit and posed superbly amongst some fresh buds.

24057 - Goldfinch, Sandy Water Park, Llanelli

The early part of the afternoon was spent walking along The Saltings, a large area of salt marsh between Burry Port and Pembrey country park. It was low tide during my visit so bird numbers were low, but I still managed to see a couple of Curlew, three Shellduck and eight Redshank. The main attraction though was in the shape of my first Skylarks of the year, a couple of which even took the time to get out of the air and sit on the grass for the camera.

24075 - Skylark, The Saltings

Meadow Pipits numbers were well up on my last visit to the area, and it was also very pleasing to see three Stonechats sat on the telegraph wires along with five Reed Buntings and a lone Chaffinch. The Stonechats seemed to be doing their best flycatcher impressions by periodically taking to the air to catch a juicy morsel. Rather disappointingly I didn’t find any more Wheatears but the season is still young so I’m sure they will soon start to accumulate.


TexWisGirl · March 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Beautiful photos of gorgeous birds.

FAB · March 29, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Super selection from around the water park Adam.
I love watching the Tufties – especially when they are preening.
Saw plenty of Skylarks displaying today plus added Gt Northern Diver and Little Gull to the year list.

Bill S. · March 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I love the pictures. Waterfowl are now migrating through here and we are really enjoying them.

mick · March 29, 2011 at 7:42 pm

It's nice to be able to get close enough to birds to get beautiful photos such as yours.

joo · March 29, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I love them all! Beautiful photos!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) · March 29, 2011 at 8:29 pm

What a wonderful place for birding! I recognized a few, from over here on this side of the big pond. Your pictures are great. Thanks for sharing.

theconstantwalker · March 29, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Fantastic images of some of my favourite birds Adam. The TD is a beauty.

Anonymous · March 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm

These are beautiful photos! I love the patterning you can see on the feathers of the Gadwells. Lovely detail.

Carletta · March 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Your Sandy Water Park looks like a wonderful place to visit. Many lovely images of the wildlife.
Love how well you've captured the eyes of the ducks.

Carletta@Round The Bend

Adam Tilt · March 29, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Thanks everyone for your kind comments.

texwisgirl – Thanks very much. Glad you liked them.

Frank – Only problem with Tufties preening is that I keep mistaking them at first glance for Scaup!

Bill S – Glad you liked them. What waterfowl are you getting?

Mick – It certainly makes it easier when they come close as I don't have a particularly powerful camera.

joo – Thanks.

Sallie – It is a great place for birds.

Andrew – Thank you. Can't beat a Tufted Duck in the sun.

Bailey-road – It's amazing how intricate the details on a Gadwall are. Glad you liked them.

Springman · March 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Thanks for sharing your walk! I didn't remember that you were shooting with an Fz28. That is fantastic. I have the same camera in my little stockpile and know the quality of it's glass and excellent manual focus. I've thought about trying to pick up a copy of the legendary Panasonic FZ50 at some point. You are the master of the FZ though as these images could sell a million cameras for Panasonic if they still produced those older classic models. Sterling work Adam!

Adam Tilt · March 29, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Carletta – It's a fantastic place and very near home as well which is even better.

Springman – Thanks very much. For its size the Fz28 is a fantastic camera. I keep toying with the idea of getting an SLR but the cost and extra weight always outweighs the advantages for me. Besides its quite fun lining up on occasion amongst the big lenses and getting very similar results!

Sondra · March 29, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Such sharp Images–fantastic detail in the feathers of these great birds—

Unknown · March 29, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Stunning shots Adam!!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Pat Ulrich · March 30, 2011 at 6:08 am

Fantastic series — so many lovely species! It's always fun when a single outing can yield a diverse group of images.

Amila Kanchana · March 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm

These birds make my jaw drop! Unbelievably beautiful,perfectly photographed!:)

Fotokarusellen · March 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm

A great set of beautiful birds. Well done!

Anonymous · March 30, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Great shots of these "normal" waterbirds. I also like them a lot – never seen a skylark though 🙂

Hilke Breder · March 30, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Sounds like a very productive day, Adam. Love your pics of waterfowl. Looking at your Skylark and Goldfinch I wished we were further into spring. Instead we have another snow storm in the forecast. Will winter never end?!

Caroline Gill · March 30, 2011 at 10:53 pm

A wonderful collection, Adam. I think my camera is the same … a Lumix 18x zoom? Love that Tufted Duck upside down view!

Adam Tilt · March 31, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Sondra, Gary, Pat, Amila, Fotokarusellen, dreamfalcon – Thanks. Glad you liked them.

Hilke – I love snow but I must say I'm glad to have some warmer weather back. I'm sure Spring will reach you eventually.

Caroline – Almost the same camera but I have the next one up with 24x zoom. The Lumix range really is fantastic.

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