Robins, Redwings and rain – three words that sum up this past weekend perfectly.
I spent both Saturday and Sunday at the local WWT reserve near Llanelli, partly due to the fact that I needed to be in range of home for work commitments but mostly because it’s been such a long time since I have properly explored its pools and marshes. To my surprise it was remarkably warm for the time of year with temperatures peaking at sixteen Celsius, but even that couldn’t make up for the sheets of rain that kept blowing in off the Burry. Fortunately the sun battled its way through the clouds on Sunday just long enough to illuminate this friendly Robin.
With most of the trees now bereft of their leaves it is once again easier to find and observe many of our woodland birds. The reserves plantations were crawling with Goldcrests who appear to have had a particularly good year as well as passing flocks of Long Tailed Tits and the occasional Bullfinch. A Treecreeper was also a nice find given that we haven’t seen one there for some time. I was pleased to see that the autumn migrants have started to arrive with at least eight Redwings spotted across both days. Relatively tame in the depths of winter they are currently very skittish and fled at the merest hint of a human approach. They are definitely my target species over the next couple of months as I have yet to get a decent photograph of one despite trying for the past two years. Wish me luck.
Out on the pools waterfowl numbers are really starting to build with at least 215 Wigeon and 25 Shoveller present. Shellduck numbers were also pretty good as were Teal, but surprisingly there were very few Gadwall. They are normally a mainstay at the reserve so it was slightly bemusing to see so few. What was impressive though was the number of Pintails in front of the Heron Wing Hide. I normally count one or two as a good effort but on both days there were upwards of 72, a personal record for me which has been eclipsed today be a warden count of 124. Very nice indeed.
Bad weather and high tides meant that water levels were high across the site, somewhat limiting feeding opportunities for waders. 51 Black Tailed Godwits and a Greenshank from the British Steel Hide were as good as things got, not forgetting the single Dunlin which is a species I haven’t recorded there all that often. If the promised cold weather ever gets here this great start should get even better.