We have a lodger. We haven't actually seen him or her, but they've been leaving some telltale signs at the back of the Visitor Centre. To be honest, they're a bit messy and keep regurgitating their lunch. For the last week, we've been noticing pellets of undigestable food by the back door, so we'd narrowed it down to peregrine, sparrowhawk or barn owl, but the pellets contain birds' bones so we'd pretty much ruled out the latter. This morning Robbie spotted some teal feathers among the debris, so we suspect that it's a peregrine, but it must arrive after dark and be away before dawn.
We've had another raptor visitor this week, a male hen harrier that flew across the reserve on Friday afternoon (21st); we wonder if it's the one that spent a few days with us before Christmas. This afternoon a golden plover has joined lapwings outside the coffee shop, and water rails have been heard more frequently. Listen for their pig-like squeal from the reedbeds. Rarest bird of the week has been another firecrest (17th), though slightly outside the nature reserve - it was along the estuary track that runs north to Deganwy. A couple of goldcrests on Friday were almost as rare, however; the cold weather really seems to have taken its toll on their local numbers.
There are a few more waders around, with black-tailed godwit, snipe, dunlin and ringed plover here this week, while a male goosander was on the estuary yesterday (21st). It's great to see some colour on the trails, with gorse now in flower and the winter honeysuckle bringing some perfume to the wildlife garden.
Finally, if you were lucky enough to see the stoats on the reserve last summer, pop into the Visitor Centre where we have today premiered a short film by Ibex Films that you can see on our video screen. Our thanks to Geoff and Heather Gartside for producing it.