This week's warm weather has brought more early summer migrants. Sand martins have been flowing through the reserve over the last couple of days, with a handful of swallows since Friday. A willow warbler on Friday was the first of the year, and a week earlier than in the last couple of years. Chiffchaffs and white wagtails have become more numerous as the week progressed, while on the estuary a greenshank on Monday was the first of the year and the high-tide roost held black-tailed godwits and dunlin in the middle of the week.
Two twite were found on the saltmarsh on Friday evening, and have been seen sporadically today. These unassuming little birds are the mountain linnets (llinos y mynydd), perhaps heading back into Snowdonia or western Scotland after a winter by the coast.
A red kite flew east over the reserve on Friday afternoon, while goldeneye, redwing and pochard have all been seen this week but may not be around for much longer. A kingfisher and a skylark on Tuesday are both the first here for a while, and water rails have been spotted in a couple of places.
Signs of the breeding season include much head-shaking display from the great crested grebes, a pair of ravens in a superb synchronised fly-by this morning, a pair of moorhens building a nest in the top of a sedge bed outside Benarth Hide, and grey herons carrying sticks to their ever-growing nests on the opposite bank of the river.
Butterflies this week have included comma, brimstone, small tortoiseshell and peacock, while stoats have been seen on the estuary path and outside the coffee shop.