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