As September marches on it’s now glaringly obvious that the days are getting shorter. We’ve already lost at least an hours daylight each evening and with it the sun has given up a lot of the strength which used to see dusk stretching on seemingly well into the night. At least there’s still plenty of time for evening walks and so we headed off to Machynys last night. On a dropping tide there were hundreds upon hundreds of Oystercatchers feeding noisily out on the mudflats, their calls mingling with the distinctive sound of burbling Curlews and cawing Gulls. Overhead good numbers of House Martins and Swallows were still on the wing, though noticeably less than a few weeks ago, plus we found my first Whitethroat for quite some time. It was skulking through bushes bordering the WWT reserve where we also picked up a pair of Redshank and one lone Greenshank. Out on the golf course pond the moulting Gadwall are now back in full plumage with the males in particular looking mighty fine indeed. However it was left to this rather tame Stonechat to sign off for the night.
I was back out again this evening but decided to stay closer to home and headed down to the Loughor. Here I met a herd of cows which for two very valid reasons was not a great start. Firstly I’m not a great fan of sharing space with our bovine friends and secondly the combination of narrow hooves and soft ground has turned what used to be a firm path into a muddy mess. Not exactly promising but the cows seem to be doing wanders for the reedbeds which have not only been opened up a little but now hold numerous shallow pools which tonight at least were home to a quartet of Common Snipe. This is a relatively scarce species in my local area so a great find. Also present in the reeds was a calling Cetti’s Warbler whilst flyover Green Woodpecker and Mistle Thrush were further nice additions. I should also mention the forty plus Swallows which seemed to be moving through, feasting on a horde of insects which in turn were feasting on me.Ouch.
Moving down to Castell ddu Farm the sun was already well on its way down when I stumbled across a huge mass of life. Over three hundred Pied Wagtails were jostling for position out on the marsh with a couple of good candidates for White Wagtail amongst them. Six Little Egrets, a couple of Grey Herons and yet more Swallows rounded off a thoroughly nice walk. There was even the added bonus of a Murco oil train crossing the eleven arch viaduct, something I’ve wanted to see for quite some time.
Let’s hope this good weather holds as I could do with a few more evenings like this.