Remember our rather barren walk around the local WWT reserve at Llanelli recently? Well last Sunday couldn’t have been more different. There are still a few winter residents around the place including four Wigeon on the NRA scrapes, but the vast majority of departed birds have more than been made up for by the influx of new arrivals. Nowhere was this more evident than in front of the Michael Powell Hide where we were treated to the best collection of waders that I’ve seen there for some time. Seventeen Redshank were quietly roosting on one of the two small islands but it was the lone Spotted Redshank that really caught our eye. I haven’t found one of these for absolutely ages so it was a real treat. Alas it was feeding a fair distance from the hide so no photos, but one of the six Greenshank also present was very obliging and came as close as feasibly possible without actually leaving the water.
Over at the British Steel Hide we dedicated more time than usual to the flock of Greylag Geese after reading that a couple of rarities had popped up amongst them in the last few weeks. Initially all looked normal but just as we were giving up hope a darker head appeared above a grassy bank. It took a while for the rest of the bird to follow but eventually we were rewarded with a cracking Pink Footed Goose. It was definitely a new site tick for me and probably my first pink footer outside of Norfolk. The quality birds continued to flow on the main pool where two Mediterranean Gulls were sat in the midst of one of the Black Headed Gull breeding colonies. These are now in full flow and their volume has reached an all new level. Although its hard to judge from the photo below, the small island shown is absolutely covered in nesting birds.
We had great fun watching the gulls squabble amongst themselves, particularly when an individuals amorous advances were being completely ignored by their chosen subject. I think we can all relate to that situation.
It was not just the gulls that were feeling the love however with two broods of Mallards already wandering around the reserve. It never ceases to amaze me just how rapidly these little bundles of feathers are able to move across the water, though sometimes even that is not quick enough. From the Heron Wing Hide we witnessed a Crow pick up and devour one unfortunate duckling. The mother bravely led the rest of her family to the relatively safe confines of some reeds, but with another Crow perched atop them I don’t think the outlook was particularly good. What with the Slow Worm in the last post and now this, my blog seems to have taken a rather sinister turn. To make up for it here’s a whole bundle of cuteness.
With the weather being on the chilly side we weren’t expecting to see many butterflies on the wing, so a couple of Orange-tips were rather nice. A Willow Warbler, two Blackcaps and a couple of Swallows summed up pretty well the spring migrants we’ve seen so far this year, but I’m quite surprised that I’ve not yet caught up with a House Martin. Judging by what I’ve been reading across twitter and the interwebs I’m not the only one to have noticed the somewhat tardy arrival of our hirundines. Fortunately our resident birds are as reliable as ever, with this Robin and Blackbird being particularly approachable.
Other notable sightings across the day included a gathering of 350 Black Tailed Godwits and 80 Knot in the Millennium Wetlands, as well as an overflying Peregrine Falcon that panicked almost every bird in sight up into the air. We also had another possible sighting of the Great White Egret but much like last time we just couldn’t get a good enough view to be absolutely sure. Third time lucky?