Of the five British owl species, the Barn Owl is one of the most nocturnal in habit, therefore a day flying Barn Owl observed hunting over Covert Coch (10th) was a real treat and a personal highlight for me on the reserve this week. Another sign of Barn Owl presence on the reserve are their pellets, which consist of the indigestible parts of meals. Pellets are frequently left in a number of the reserve’s hides and if you are lucky, whole rodent skulls can sometimes be found within one.
A blanket of cloud rolled over the hills during the week.
A temperature rise resulted in the return of wetland birds to the reserve’s freshwater pools, this was particularly apparent on the Breakwater field where good numbers of wildfowl were present on the 14th including, 330+ Wigeon, 107+ Teal, 6x Shoveler and 9x Shelduck.
The resident Little Egrets continue to show well, including this individual photographed by Keith Roberts from the Domen Las Hide.
Increasing day length has prompted a range of bird species to become more vocal including the elusive Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, taking time to learn the call and drumming sound could greatly increase your chances of connecting with this miniature woodpecker on the reserve. Another species which can be heard frequently is the Red Kite as birds begin to show signs of display with the upcoming breeding season getting ever closer.
Twenty eight Greenland White-fronted Geese and 1x Bean Goose continued to show regularly just off the reserve. The birds are viewable from a public footpath running parallel to the Afon Clettwr.
Other interesting sightings included, 320+ Dunlin (Breakwater Hide, 9th), 2x Red-breasted Merganser (Breakwater Hide, 9th), 1x Hen Harrier (female, saltmarsh, daily), 1x Peregrine Falcon (Domen Las Hide, 14th) and 1x Otter (Breakwater Hide, 10th).
I managed to take this record photo of the Hen Harrier as it flew in front of the Breakwater Hide on the 14th.
Finally, the reserve will experience some large high tides at the back end of next week, peaking at 5.9m on Saturday 21st (09:57am). A seat in one of the hides overlooking the estuary should guarantee some great wildlife watching two hours either side of high tide.