Finally it looks like we may be breaking free from our long, cold spring if the last couple of evenings have been anything to go by. Temperatures are at last starting to flirt with the magic twenty Celsius mark and it’s now unusual not to see at least a few hirundines flying overhead. On Wednesday we headed over to Penclawdd, fish and chips in hand, to watch what we hoped would be a decent sunset. The dark storm clouds looked threatening but at just the right moment they opened up enough to light the scene before us.
While the sun was making its slow decent I took a walk along the river to see what was about. Swallows, House Martins and the occasional Swift were hunting over the water whilst on the marsh itself six Mute Swans, three Greylag Geese and at least twenty Shelducks could be seen feeding. Sadly a thorough hunt for the Whooper Swan reported from here earlier in the week drew a blank. The real surprise though was the number of small birds in the limited vegetation between marsh and village. One small stretch of shrubs alone held Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, several families of House Sparrows and at least two pairs of Dunnocks. We also found evidence for what is probably a second Little Egret roost along this stretch of coast with at least six birds seen heading towards it.
Yesterday it was the turn of the Burry Inlet’s north coast for some attention as I walked from near the visitor centre on Llanelli’s foreshore to the outer limits of Penclacwydd. With a virtually cloudless sky the light was fantastic and I found both a Meadow Pipit and singing male Chaffinch making the most of it.
A male and female Wheatear were nice finds but way too wary to approach whilst a very large white bird flying towards the Loughor bridge was incredibly tantalising. It was most likely either the Spoonbill or Great White Egret which have both been seen near here in recent days, but sadly the distance was too great to make a positive identification. That certainly wasn’t a problem for the multitude of whistling Shelducks which were spread out across the exposed mud. Several of the males were displaying though from what I could see they were having trouble attracting much attention from the fairer sex. A pair of Gadwall and several Mallards were pretty much the only other visible species given that the tide was so far out.
As on Wednesday there was plenty of hirundine action with House Martins being particularly numerous around the Machynys development. Interestingly I observed several landing briefly on the beach itself, presumably in order to feed on the multitude of insects there. Over at the golf club pond it was Swifts that filled the air allowing me to prove to myself once again that no, I really can’t photograph something that moves that fast. Six Pochard and a similar number of Tufted Ducks were keeping a pair of Mute Swans company on the water with yet more of the ubiquitous Goldfinches nearby. They must have had a brilliant couple of years as I’ve never seen so many over such a wide area. I had hoped to finish off the day by photographing the sunset but at present it’s setting over land instead of the hoped for water from this position. I’ll have to return at a later date or stick to watching from Gower.