With thousands of wetland birds now wintering on the Dyfi estuary there is a true wildlife spectacle to be witnessed on a stroll around the reserve. A large number of birds utilise the Breakwater field for feeding and roosting where great viewing can be had from the Ynys Feurig Hide. Totals from this hide during the week included, 5+ Shelduck, 11+ Shoveler, 193x Wigeon (20th), 4x Pintail (18th), 5x Gadwall (17th), 383x Teal (20th), 400+ Lapwing, 18x Dunlin (18th) and the juvenile Chilean Flamingo which extended its stay for another week.
A small number of Black-tailed Godwit are currently wintering on the estuary where they can be seen from both the Ynys Feuirg and Domen Las Hides (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).
Careful scanning of over 150 Teal on the Ynys Edwin pool on the 20th didn’t lead to the rediscovery of the drake Green-winged Teal as hoped however I did find a drake Teal with a light green nasal saddle. The plastic saddle which fits around the bill was inscribed centrally with a ‘J’ and had the letters ‘NA’ hand written on both sides. Early research suggests that this bird has come from a French ringing scheme and of course I’ll keep you posted as and when the details are confirmed.
The sight of hundreds of Oystercatcher feeding on the estuary provides another spectacle on the reserve (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).
Other interesting sightings this week included, 15x Greylag Geese (saltmarsh, regular), 7x Shoveler (Ynys Edwin, 20th), 5x Goldeneye (Domen Las Hide, daily), 1x Little Grebe (Ynys Feurig Hide, 20th), 1x Kestrel (Ynys Edwin, daily), 4x Black-tailed Godwit (Domen Las Hide, daily), 1x Greenshank (Domen Las Hide, regular), 1x Green Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, daily), 1x Barn Owl (Wetland Trail Boardwalk, 19th), Redwing (small numbers spread across the reserve) and 3+ Siskin (Visitor Centre feeders, daily).
Up to five Goldeneye can be seen regularly from the Domen Las Hide (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).
Finally, in what will be my final sightings instalment for 2014 I’d like to wish everyone an enjoyable festive period.
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.