We’ve just had another fantastic week on the reserve with the key sightings being a fine drake Green-winged Teal (Ynys Feurig Hide, daily since its discovery on the 11th), two Otter (Domen Las Hide,10th) and a big bull Grey Seal (Domen Las Hide, 12th).
This Green-winged Teal from North America could possibly be the same individual recorded on the reserve at the end of May this year. Note the vertical white stripe near the breast which is one of the main plumage differences between Green-winged and Eurasian Teal (Many Thanks to John Davis for the photograph).
This huge bull Grey Seal caught an equally impressive salmon infront of the Domen Las hide during the week (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).
Another excellent find was a Great Northern Diver, first seen from the Domen Las Hide on the 11th. The bird, which ranged from the Breakwater Hide to the Domen Las Hide, was regularly seen feeding on the estuary at high tide throughout the week.
Highlights from the November Wetland Bird Survey (WEBS count) undertaken on the 10th included, 341x Barnacle Geese, 1x Pink-footed Goose, 7x Greylag Geese, 246x Mallard, 2x Gadwall, 16x Shoveler, 168x Wigeon, 5x Goldeneye, 15x Red-breasted Merganser, 21x Little Egret, 52x Redshank, 1x Spotted Redshank, 5x Snipe, 6x Bar-tailed Godwit, 15x Black-tailed Godwit, 388x Curlew and 2x Kingfisher.
A nice selection of raptors continued to hunt on the reserve including, 3+ Red Kite (daily), 3+ Common Buzzard (daily), 1x Sparrowhawk (Wetland Trail, 12th), 2x Kestrel (daily), 1x Peregrine (saltmarsh, daily) and 1x Merlin (Ynys Feurig Hide, 13th).
With their main feather moult now complete the reserve's Red Kites look even more stunning whilst patrolling over the saltmarsh (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo taken from the Domen Las Hide).
On the non-avian front the mild weather allowed a few Common Darter dragonfly, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Peacock and a single Brimstone butterfly to remain active. A report of a Water Shrew, all be it dead, was a good record for the reserve at Ynys Edwin.
Other interesting sightings this week included, 6x Goosander (Domen Las Hide, regular), 1200 Lapwing (Ynys Feurig Hide, 11th), 39x Dunlin (Ynys Feurig Hide, 12th), 1x Little Stint (Ynys Feurig Hide, 12th), 7x Greenshank (Ynys Feurig Hide, 11th), 1x Water Pipit (Saltings Hide, 11th & 12th), 3x Chiffchaff (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, 12th) and Crossbill (heard calling behind Visitor Centre, 14th).
We’re offering weekly guided walks every Wednesday morning at ten o’clock. Tom, one of our interns will be pointing out some of the wildlife and explaining about the management work done on the reserve.
If you are interested please ring us on: 01654 700222, to book a place. Alternatively, you can just turn up at the visitor centre at 9:50 Wednesday morning.
Its £2.50 for RSPB members and £5 for non-members, and please remember to bring waterproofs and suitable footwear as some of the trails may be muddy.
Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo of Black-tailed Godwits, a popular sighting on recent guided walks.
The spectacle of thousands of wetland birds feeding and roosting on the Breakwater field over high tide has to be one of the main highlights over the past week. With the high tides being over five metres most of the saltmarsh was inundated with seawater pushing the estuary birds over the railway line and onto the wet grassland. Peak counts from the Breakwater field over the past week included, 20x Shoveler (8th), 10+ Pintail (8th), 1x Golden Plover (5th), 900+ Lapwing (8th), 37x Dunlin (8th), 125x Redshank (7th), 1x Spotted Redshank (7th & 8th), 4x Greenshank (8th), 36x Black-tailed Godwit (7th), 19x Bar-tailed Godwit (7th) and 500+ Curlew (7th).
Over 100 Oystercatcher could be seen roosting on the saltmarsh (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).
Another highlight was a single Water Pipit observed feeding alongside Meadow Pipits right in front of the Saltings Hide (4th & 7th). Fingers crossed that this scarce bird will winter on the reserve.
The wintering flock of Greenland White-fronted Geese increased to 20 birds (5th) with the Breakwater Hide being the best place to catch a glimpse of the birds, which tend to hang out on either the saltmarsh or wet grassland to the west. The diversity of feral waterfowl on the reserve increased with 1x Australian Shelduck, 1x Cackling Goose and 1x Pink-footed Goose joining the flocks of Canada and Greylag Geese grazing on the reserve.
Over 360 Barnacle Geese remained on the saltmarsh, including some returning colour ringed birds. Last winter a small number of Barnacle Geese were ringed here (blue ring with a number and letter on the left leg, metal ring on the right leg) in order to find out where the birds moved to during the breeding season. Through people reporting their sightings, it was discovered that the geese were heading up to the Lakes District in North West England. On the 8th November, I managed to get great views of two of the colour ringed Barnacle Geese, 3C and 3T, a pair who were grazing with their two offspring opposite the Domen Las Hide.
Keep a lookout for colour ringed Barnacle Geese like 3C and 3T who were seen feeding with their two offspring from the Domen Las Hide.
The Starling roost continued to provide some excellent viewing from the Ynys Eidiol screen. On the 2nd November around 5000 birds put on a great show which was lengthened due to the presence of a huge female Peregrine and 2 Sparrowhawk on the lookout for a Starling supper. Check out the RSPB Mid Wales Facebook Page for a short video of the murmuration taken during the week.
On the non-avian front, a small number of Red Admiral butterfly and a single Common Darter dragonfly took advantage of the milder weather at the beginning of the week and of course how can I forget the superb autumn colours that are currently on show in the woodlands.
Wrens could occasionally be heard belting out short bursts of song (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).
Other interesting sightings this week included, 3x Gadwall (pair Marian Mawr Hide, 8th and 1x female Ynys Edwin Pool, daily), 3x Goldeneye (1ml 2fm, Domen Las Hide, 8th), 8x Red-breasted Merganser (Breakwater Hide, regular), 9x Little Grebe (Domen Las Hide, 4th), 1x Great Crested Grebe (Breakwater Hide, 8th), 47x Little Egret (roosting on the northern side of the estuary), 1x Hen Harrier (male, Wetland Trail Boardwalk, 3rd), 1x Peregrine Falcon (Saltmarsh, regular), 1x Green Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, 8th), 2x Kingfisher (Domen Las Hide, 4th), Redwing (small numbers around Visitor Centre, daily), Chiffchaff (heard calling around the Ynys Eidiol screen, regular) and c.40 Lesser Redpoll (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, regular).