After nearly a month’s absence, the return of 26 Greenland White-Fronted Geese to the reserve was a real highlight this week. The flock sighted on the saltings from Poggles bench (Wetland Trail, 13th) showed well in the winter sunshine. However, where they have been feeding over the past four weeks remains a mystery.
The most unusual sighting of the week has to go to a Chilean Flamingo! The juvenile first seen from the Ynys Feurig Hide on the 12th looked slightly out of place in amongst the Lapwing and Teal. The bird, which has most likely escaped from a collection, must have found the reserve to its liking however as it was still present and feeding in front of the Ynys Feurig hide earlier today.
A Chilean Flamingo brought a touch of the exotic to the Breakwater Field this week.
Notable totals from the December WeBS Count undertaken on the 9th included, 13x Greylag Geese, 340x Barnacle Geese, 41x Shelduck, 1x Cape Shelduck, 105x Mallard, 5x Gadwall, 20x Pintail, 16x Shoveler, 398x Teal, 422x Wigeon, 9x Red-Breasted Merganser, 406x Lapwing, 139x Oystercatcher, 8x Bar-tailed Godwit, and 57x Dunlin.
541 Canada Geese and 422 Wigeon were recorded on the reserve during this months WeBS Count (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).
Other interesting sightings this week included, 1x Pink-footed Goose (daily, Marian Mawr field), 5x Goldeneye (Domen Las Hide, regular), 10x Red Kite (daily), 1x Green Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, regular), 1x Common Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, regular), 1x Greenshank (track down to Domen Las Hide, regular), 25+ Meadow Pipit (Ynys Edwin, 13th) and 2x Stonechat (Marian Mawr Hide, regular).
Cormorants can be seen regularly from the Domen Las Hide where they are particularly good at catching flat fish (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).
Finally catching a glimpse of an Ynys-hir otter has to my personal highlight on the reserve this week. The otter, viewed from both the Domen Las and Marian Mawr Hides, was busy foraging on the estuary and successfully caught atleast one big flat fish whilst I was watching, excellent stuff!
The Domen Las Hide proved to be a productive spot during the week with a single Bittern being particularly noteworthy on the 7th. The hide also produced sightings of a Hen Harrier (ringtail, 7th), Red Kite, 1x Peregrine Falcon, 150+ Barnacle Geese (keep a look out for colour ringed birds), 150+ Wigeon, 5x Goldeneye, 6+ Goosander, 5+ Little Grebe, Black-tailed Godwit, 2x Bar-tailed Godwit (7th), 1x Common Gull (7th) and 1x Kingfisher.
The Domen Las Hide is providing excellent views of Goosander at present. (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).
A couple of frosty days increased the level of foraging activity at the Visitor Centre feeders where superb views of Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and finches could be had.
The early morning mist lifting from the raised bog.
Other interesting sightings this week included, 9x Gadwall (Marian Mawr Hide, Ynys Feurig Hide and Visitor Centre Pools, regular), 245x Teal (Ynys Edwin Pool, daily), 1x Great Northern Diver (Saltings Hide, high tide, check around the white boat surrounded by green buoys), 1x Snipe (Covert Du Hide, in the newly cut area), 2x Stonechat (track to Domen Las Hide, regular), 1x Chiffchaff (near Ynys Feurig Hide) and c.40 Reed Bunting (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, regular).
Gorse flower, with its coconut aroma, can be found throughout the year. The Gorse around the Ynys Feurig Hide is looking particularly good at the moment.
If I were to use one word to describe the last fortnight on the reserve it would be settled. The reserve’s wildlife cast remained relatively similar however with mild and calm conditions dominating it made for some pleasant viewing on the reserve.
The suns late autumn glow illuminating the Ynys-hir landscape.
A couple of Woodcock sightings, including a bird from the main drive, were notable given that mild conditions have slowed the rate of arrival of continental birds so far this autumn. The mild weather seems to have benefited other bird species with 1x Greenshank (over visitor centre pools, 28th), 1x Green Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, occasional), 1x Common Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, 30th) and 1x Chiffchaff (Wetland Trail, 30th) still present on the reserve. Whilst a Red Admiral (28th), Painted Lady (30th) and bats (29th) also remained active.
There has been some great light for photography as can be seen from this excellent Mallard photo (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts).
Two of our stars from the last sightings blog prolonged their stay on the reserve with the drake Green-winged Teal last sighted from the Ynys Feurig Hide on the 16th. The Great Northern Diver was occasionally seen on the estuary at high tide with the Saltings Hide providing most of the observations.
Whilst creating viewing lines into the reedbed infront of the Covert Du Hide the conservation team observed an otter trail, heard at least two Water Rail and had lunch with a Robin who has discovered that the inside of the hide provides some easy pickings in the form of trapped flies (28th).
Role-reversal? The Robin then observed the conservation team whilst they were busy cutting reed.
Other interesting sightings included, 1x Pink-footed Goose (saltmarsh, regular), 4x Gadwall (Marian Mawr Pools, 29th), 35x Shoveler (Ynys Feurig Hide, 30th), 3x Goldeneye (Domen Las Hide, regular), 11x Goosander (Domen Las Hide, 30th), 3x Red Kite (Covert Du Hide, 28th), Merlin (saltmarsh,occasional), 1x Kingfisher (Marian Mawr Pools, regular), Black-tailed Godwit (Domen Las Hide, regular), 10+ Fieldfare (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, 18th) and 40+ Lesser Redpoll (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, regular).
Up to three Goldeneye have been seen feeding in front of the Domen Las Hide.