This afternoon we spent a couple of hours at the WWT site on the outskirts of Llanelli and found ourselves surrounded by hordes of new arrivals. It wasn’t hard to miss the hundred strong flock of Jackdaws that were hanging around the entrance making an almighty racket, the majority of which was emanating from the many recent fledglings that were dotted throughout the group. At the first pond we encountered surely one of the duck worlds cutest offspring in the shape of ten floating humbugs, or should that be Shellduck ducklings. My attention though was drawn to the far less attractive family of Moorhens who were nearby. The progression of a Moorhen from birth to its final form fascinates me. They start off looking almost prehistoric and despite initial impressions they contain an amazing amount of detail and colour when viewed up close. I was fortunate to find several individuals around the site that were more than happy to pose for me, although I did get a bit of a surprise when one of the adults walked right up to me and gave my knee a good peck. It would appear that despite their size they aren’t to be messed with!
Not all of the Moorhens were as young as those above. There were several individuals that were far more advanced having been born from earlier broods.
Other fledglings seen during our wanderings included Tufted Duck, Mallard, Coot, Greylag Goose, Black Headed Gull (in their droves) and a couple of Wood Pigeons that had not yet mastered the art of escaping in a flurry of flapping wings at the first sight of people.
The most surprising sighting of the day was a young Fox cub that was patrolling the perimeter of the pool in front of the Michael Powell Hide. It was taking great interest in the thickets of reeds that lined the waters edge and would often pull its head from them with a mouth full of something that was soon wolfed down. I imagine the most likely candidates for meeting their maker would have been eggs or small birds still in the nest. Even a flock of Crows that arrived from nowhere with seemingly the sole ambition of harassing the Fox couldn’t put it off. We waited a good while to see if it would come any closer but it always stayed well away from the hide. I did however manage to get a record shot which is more than I have managed to do with my locals Foxes to date.
And what of the old friend I hear you ask? Well I can’t be sure that it is the exact same bird that we have seen at the reserve in the past, but for the last couple of days a stunning Spoonbill has been hanging out on the lagoons. This species is a fairly regular visitor to the area now but I will never get tired of seeing them or their fantastic bills. Amazingly we caught up with it just as a break in the clouds coincided with a bit of preening on the part of the Spoonbill. So often I have been forced to just watch these birds sleeping, but this time we were treated to a superb display.
The only negative to all this was that the Spoonbill did appear to have a limp in one of its legs. Although the bird looks in good shape at the moment it did stumble on occasion during its preening. Hopefully it is just something that it can shake off, but if not it probably couldn’t be in a better place than where it is at the moment.