You could say I’m pretty chuffed with the photo above. The very obliging subject is a female Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum), one of several that were resting on shrubs around Llanelli WWT on Sunday. I have never had much luck getting close to these prehistoric insects in the past, but this one was an absolute star allowing me to photograph it from every angle conceivable. Being up this close and personal made me realise just how intricate these creatures are. The eyes alone are works of art whilst details such as the thin yellow stripe running down each leg just add to their beauty.
The males of the species are similarly impressive but are a darker red in comparison to the green/yellow of the females. There were only a couple of them visible and they were much more flighty than the females so I was fortunate to capture the individual below.
Elsewhere around the reserve the sun was bringing out the Butterflies in force. A new species for me and by far my favourite of the day was a stunning Brimstone over in the Millennium Wetlands. My photo really can’t do justice to how vibrantly coloured this species is but hopefully it gets somewhere close.
After struggling with the “white” Butterflies all year it would now appear that I am on something of a role as another Green Veined White posed perfectly for me on what I believe is an Asteraceae.
A rather tatty Gatekeeper was also to be found, rather suitably I may add, on the grass near the entrance to the show ponds.
The bird life was rather muted with the exception of fifty eight Redshanks in front of the Heron Wing Hide, within which was hiding a superb Ruff. A Greenshank and a trio of Little Egrets rounded out the waders but I gather things have picked up a notch today with the appearance of a Curlew Sandpiper, one of my nemesis species that I finally caught up with in Devon earlier this year. I’m hoping that it sticks around for a while longer as it would be very nice to get one on my Welsh list. Most of the duck species now seem to be entering eclipse plumage with the Shoveller, Teal and Gadwall drakes all looking far from their best.
The most unexpected find was a brilliant male Pintail in eclipse plumage which was seen preening from the Boardwalk Hide. The Burry Inlet, which the reserve borders, holds nationally important numbers of Pintails during the winter but it is still not that common to have such close views of one in the site itself. Speaking of winter I don’t want to be the bringer of bad news but I get the distinct impression that the seasons are a changing. Our Swifts seem to have started on their journey back to Africa and a few leaves are beginning to turn colour on the trees. All I can say is bring on the snow! What? Too soon?