A Great White Egret first seen from the Domen Las Hide on the 21st takes the accolade of top sighting this week. The bird roamed widely across the reserve however seemed to favour the saltmarsh for foraging. With any luck the egret may prolong its stay into next week where visitors should look out for a bird similar in size to a Grey Heron.
The Saltmarsh Trail was particularly productive with 70+ Pintail (Domen Las Hide, 22nd), 400+ Wigeon (Domen Las Hide, 22nd), 2x Green Sandpiper (Marion Mawr Hide, 21st), 1x Whimbrel (Domen Las Hide, 22nd), 33x Lapwing (Saltings Hide, 25th), 1x Snipe (Saltings Hide, 24th) and 2x Kingfisher (Marion Mawr Hide, regular).
This Snipe was busy feeding in front of the Saltings Hide during the week.
The Barnacle Geese proved very photogenic from the Domen Las Hide.
Visitors to the reserve may have spotted Russell out in a tractor topping the wet grassland. Vegetation cutting is an essential part of preparing the land for next year’s wader breeding season, with species such as Lapwing preferring to nest in short swards of grass. Anyone who was in the Ynys Feurig Hide at the time of topping may have sighted four Red Kites circling above the Breakwater field or the Great White Egret who dropped in for a few minutes on the 25th.
Russell enjoyed good views of the Great White Egret whilst topping the wet grassland.
Butterfly numbers were lower than of late however the following species were still on the wing, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Small Copper. Odonata sightings included, Common Darter, Black Darter and Southern Hawker.
Black Darters can still be seen sunning themselves on the Wetland Trail Boardwalk (Many Thanks to Chris Goding for the photo).
Other interesting sightings this week included, 1x Pink-footed Goose (Breakwater Hide, 26th), 30+ Shelduck (Breakwater Hide, 26th), 8x Shoveler (Ynys Eidiol Screen, 25th), 1x Marsh Harrier (Saltmarsh, occasional), 2x Knot (Breakwater Hide, 25th), 1x Little Stint (Breakwater Hide, 25th), 15x Snipe (Ynys Feurig Hide, 24th), Spotted Flycatcher (25th) and 5+ Lesser Redpoll (Wetland Trail, daily).
Covert Coch looked stunning in the autumnal sunshine.
The run of fantastic weather continued for yet another week, however winter wildfowl continued to filter onto the reserve with Wigeon peaking at 249 (Domen Las Hide, 14th) and Pintail 22 (Domen Las Hide, 17th). Teal are now frequent on most of the reserve’s water bodies including birds utilising the pools along the Wetland Trail Boardwalk. As we welcomed the winter visitors it was also a week for making the most of the last of our summer visitors, I did this from the Domen Las Hide where I watched a flock of Swallow and House Martin skilfully skimming low over the water. Another summer visitor the Chiffchaff could be heard emitting small bursts of song from scrub across the reserve.
Pintail numbers continued to build throughout the week. Many Thanks to Laurie Wright for this photograph of a male Pintail in partial eclipse.
Waders on the reserve included, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover (Domen Las Hide, daily), 4x Lapwing (Ynys Feurig Hide, 15th), Dunlin, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, 3x Green Sandpiper (2x Domen Las Hide, 17th and 1x Marion Mawr Hide, regular), 1x Common Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, daily), Redshank, 1x Greenshank (Domen Las Hide, 15th) and 5x Snipe (Ynys Feurig Hide, 19th).
This Greenshank was sighted from the Domen Las Hide during the week. Many Thanks to Laurie Wright for the photograph.
Raptors were still proactive with a female Sparrowhawk causing a bit of panic amongst the wetland birds in front of the Domen Las Hide (17th), 1x Marsh Harrier (Saltmarsh, daily), 2x Red Kite (Wetland Trail, 15th and 1x over the Visitor Centre, 19th), 1x Kestrel (Ynys Feurig Hide, daily) and 1x Peregrine Falcon (over Visitor Centre, 16th).
Odonata and butterflies continued to be active in good numbers with the Wetland Trail Boardwalk dominating proceedings yet again with, Small Red Damselfly, Emerald Damselfly, Common Darter, Black Darter, Southern Hawker, Small Copper, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral just a few select species sighted in this area.
Other interesting sightings this week included, Kingfisher (2x Domen Las Hide, 1x Marion Mawr Hide and 1x Visitor Centre Pools, regular), Water Rail (heard calling from the Wetland Trail Boardwalk, 17th), 2x Grey Wagtail (Visitor Centre Pools, regular), 350+ Pied Wagtail (Domen Las Hide, 19th) and 2x Wheatear (Saltings Hide, 19th).
Over 300 Barnacle Geese continued to feed on the saltmarsh. Many Thanks to Laurie Wright for the photograph.
Highlight of the week had to be the high tides and the thousands of birds which followed the sea water towards the Breakwater, Saltings and Domen Las Hides. The big high tides also coincide with the monthly WeBS Counts on the reserve, in which every individual wetland bird is recorded, providing important data which can be used to measure population trends and also assist with management on the reserve. A good number of birds were recorded during the survey undertaken on the 12th including, 871x Canada Geese, 30x Shelduck, 8x Pintail, 154x Teal, 124x Mallard, 55x Wigeon, 24x Little Egret, 5x Little Grebe, 102x Oystercatcher, 153x Curlew, 1x Green Sandpiper (Marion Mawr Hide), 20x Black-tailed Godwit (Breakwater Hide), 1x Bar-tailed Godwit, 3x Grey Plover (Domen Las Hide) and 73x Dunlin.
With lots of avian prey around it was perhaps not too surprising that there was also a lot of raptor activity on the saltmarsh this week including, 1x Red Kite (Ynys Feurig Hide, daily), 1x Marsh Harrier (juv, daily), 1x Sparrowhawk (Ynys Feurig Hide, 10th), 1x Kestrel (Ynys Feurig Hide, daily), 2x Peregrine (daily) and 1x Merlin (Domen Las Hide, 11th).
Peregrine Falcon were very active on the saltmarsh during the week, this bird was seen from the Saltings Hide.
Odonata and butterfly activity remained high as the excellent weather continued. The Wetland Trail Boardwalk was a particular hotspot where species such as Small Red Damselfly, Common Darter, Black Darter, Southern Hawker, Small Copper, Red Admiral and Peacock butterfly could be seen at close quarters.
This Small Copper was taking advantage of the early morning sunshine near the Ynys Feurig Hide.
Purple Loosestrife is still blooming out in the wetlands providing a valuable source of nectar for insects at this time of year.
Other interesting sightings this week included, 310x Barnacle Geese (Saltmarsh, regular), 29x Pintail (Breakwater Hide, 11th), 1x Water Rail (Ynys Eidiol Screen, 6th), Kingfisher (Visitor Centre Pools, Domen Las Hide, daily), Little Grebe (Ynys Eidiol Screen, 6th), 2x Knot (Saltings Hide, 10th), 6x Snipe (Saltings Hide, 10th), 1x Spotted Flycatcher (Woodland Trail), 1x Sedge Warbler (Ynys Eidiol Screen, 6th) and Hares (some rather showy individuals regular along the Wetland Trail).
The Kingfisher continued to show extremely well from the Domen Las Hide during the week.