It was over to the Met Office and their radar maps on Sunday 9th in an effort to spot a gap in the series of weather fronts blasting their way across south Wales. My best option seemed to be early afternoon along the north shore of the Burry so it was no surprise that I arrived in perfect synchronicity with a torrential downpour. I guess there’s still a long way to go yet in improving our weather forecasting accuracy! At least the delay was brief and I did get to enjoy an impressive display as the clouds first obscured then slowly revealed the landscape before me.
The first rays of sunlight started to poke their way through only a couple of minutes later allowing me to pick out an impressive count of 368 Redshank on the mudflats above. Mixed in were a few Teal and Curlew plus a lone Little Egret but despite much searching I couldn’t turn any of the floating debris into a Phalarope. Believe me I tried. Nearby a trio of Carrion Crows looked suitable glum as I made my way across to Llanelli’s north dock.
By the time I’d completed even this short walk the sky had cleared bathing the whole area in strong, warming sunshine. Talk about changeable. Making the most of conditions were a pair of Mute Swans and a somewhat dubious domestic Goose, all of which were preening themselves vigorously.
Moving on to the beach I had to disappoint a lady carrying out research on Welsh speakers. I think my accent to her first question probably gave the game away more than the words it contained. At least she didn’t seem too disappointed and after a brief chat I was left to enjoy hundreds upon hundreds of Oystercatchers roosting out on the sandbanks. Their constant calling and shuffling reminded me that the tide was rising rapidly but I still had just enough time (and more importantly sand) to make it out to the end of the breakwater. Along the way a flock of Ringed Plovers put in an appearance before this lone Oystercatcher took my attention.
Several Reed Buntings and Greenfinch of all things were in the bushes at the very end before an approaching shower sent me trotting back to shelter. Needless to say I arrived just as the rain stopped and with the sun once again reappearing went for a walk around the dock itself. Whether it’s down to all the rain of late or a conscious management choice I can’t be sure but the water levels within were higher than I’ve seen previously and had attracted a good selection of gulls including three Great Black-backed. Nothing too unusual there but as I scanned the edges a small wader popped into view. Closer inspection revealed it to be a Common Sandpiper, a late individual locally with most sightings normally drying up once summer is over.
Judging from its avid feeding behaviour there was certainly plenty of food available and I wouldn’t bet against it sticking around a while longer if conditions stay as they are.