As predicted Willow Warblers have now arrived on mass and fill the valley of my Cefn Drum patch from top to bottom. Each evening I’ve been out since last week has been accompanied by their song though I think Chiffchaffs are just about winning in terms of sheer numbers. Actual counts? Impossible to say but we are easily into double figures for both species. The surprising thing is that my very first Willow Warbler on patch was actually seen in our own back garden on April 9th, a new garden tick and an unexpected one at that. It was busy feeding at ground level and necessitated me dragging myself out of bed from what I had planned as a nice lie in. That’s how serious I’m taking this years competition.
On the subject of garden birds I’m pleased to say that we are still enjoying a great variety of species though the Starlings have not been seen for some weeks. Regulars include plenty of Goldfinches, House Sparrows, Collared Doves, Blue and Great Tits, plus up to four Dunnocks (a garden record) and the local Wren which seems to have taken up residence. Then there’s the occasional visit from a couple of Greenfinches, Long-tailed Tits each morning and evening not to mention an occasional flypast from the Sparrowhawk. We’ve also born witness to some interesting behaviour such as a Carrion Crow playing dead whilst being mobbed by several Ravens. Not seen that one before! All good stuff but it’s new discoveries that I need to challenge last years total and slow but steady progress is now being made. Following the Willow Warblers I’ve also added a pair of Yellowhammers off Gopa Hill in recent days and and am happy to report that presumably the same lone Swallow is still about. The rest of the hirundines can’t be far behind.
Actually I can make that last claim with some authority as down on my Upper Loughor patch there are hundreds of the things. Sand Martins are easily the most numerous with upwards of eighty individuals last Thursday night but Swallow numbers too are now touching double digits. They just need to fly another mile or so inland and I’ll be laughing.
The same trip brought a host of new additions to this year’s totals including a pair of Common Sandpipers flying downstream plus my first calling Cetti’s Warbler of the year. That latter record is particularly pleasing as the reed bed has taken a bit of a battering over the winter following numerous high tides and wandering cattle. That hasn’t stopped the Snipe gathering though with another individual recorded here but the Reed Buntings are yet to return.
It was a strange evening for weather with a menacing weather front threatening until dusk but that didn’t stop me enjoying my time out. It was so peaceful with most noise coming from the gathered Shelducks or passing freight trains though my hope of an Owl or two didn’t materialise. Instead I made the discovery of a previously unknown (to me at least) Little Egret roost featuring 47 birds by the time darkness had fallen. I can’t wait to see what turns up next.
Cefn Drum – 2015: 69 / 2016: 54
Upper Loughor 2015: 0 / 2016: 59