Apparently so! I spotted this little chap sunning itself on an orienteering post along the haul road at Kenfig NNR, not a bad find if I do say so myself. Given the truncated length of its tail I would hazard a guess that life thus far has not been without at least some degree of mild peril and probably explains its incredibly wary nature.
The day (last Sunday) had started off on a much quieter note with Kenfig pool sitting almost entirely deserted with not even a single Coot on show. Even my long staying Greylag Goose had done a bunk leaving just a few Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Mallards and one very distant Great Crested Grebe. The small flock of Wigeon reported on Saturday had clearly moved on elsewhere and it was left to a hundred or more House Martins and Swallows to bring some levity to proceedings. As they swooped low over the water and around our heads a solitary Lapwing climbed noisily into the air whilst two Cetti’s Warblers could be heard calling from somewhere in the vicinity of the north hide. As per usual the latter remained steadfastly hidden though peering through the reeds did deliver this rather fine Comma. Whether or not they’ve had a poor year I can’t be sure but this individual probably represents only my third or fourth sighting of the species since spring.
I’ve mentioned previously what a dry year we’re having so far and there was no better representation of that fact than our ability to walk the entire length of the western shore without getting our feet wet. I can’t remember the last time we managed to do that and rewards came in the shape of a lovely male Great-spotted Woodpecker and calling Chiffchaff. Common Darters were also present in very high numbers, as they have been pretty much everywhere lately, with a few Common Blue and Red Admiral thrown in for good measure. Other than that birds were hard to find until we hit the haul road and a large flock of Linnets. As usual they were off before I’d even had chance to touch the camera but a Wheatear which popped up behind them could not have been more accommodating. You know in the post from Broughton where I said that was likely to be my last chance to photograph these birds before they head back to Africa? Yeah scrap that. It would seem I was wrong for the first time since 1992.
Over at the marsh a prolonged stakeout revealed nothing of the two Garganey which have been reported on and off for several weeks though we did spot a Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler and three Little Grebes. Also present were a couple of very vocal Grey Herons and the unmistakable sound of Water Rails hidden deep within the reeds. Sadly they never came out into the open which is such a shame as I’ve not seen one now for a couple of years. We definitely need a hard winter again. Down at the river mouth a low tide meant a long walk to the birds but we were rewarded with a couple of Oystercatchers and at least twelve Sanderling. Of all waders the latter has to rank as one of my favourites for nothing other than the speed with which they run. It cracks a smile every time though I’m glad this little lot were happy to take things at a slower pace.
Further along and twenty or so Ringed Plovers mingled with a few more Sanderling before it was time to cut back through the dunes and head for home. Not perhaps the migrant fest I’d been hoping for (fingers had been optimistically crossed for a Wryneck) but some good quality nonetheless. Just need to teach Lizards how to spell that’s all.