2 Grey Phalaropes were feeding on the edge of the marsh as the tide pushed up today at around 11 am. Also a Guillemot and a Manx on the water looking a bit out of place.
A scan of the estuary between Gowerton and Llanrhidian on the evening high tide produced counts of Black-headed Gull 248, Common Sandpiper 1, Curlew 11, Dunlin 17, Marsh Harrier 1, Sanderling 5, Wheatear 20 & Whimbrel 201.
17 Sandwich Terns were the highlight of a very soggy and gloomy tide watch this evening, other counts included 1 Slavonian Grebe, 81 Shelduck, 5 Gadwall, 14 Wigeon, 18 Shoveler, 10 Teal, 12 R-b Merganser, 56 Redshank, 7 Barwit, 61 Curlew, 2 Golden Plover, 16 Grey Plover, 2 Dunlin,
Other than quick twitches for Whooper Swan and Marsh Harrier over the weekend, it feels like an age since I’ve spent any time checking out the estuary. So it was nice to spend an hour at dusk, watching what drifted up on the tide. There was no hoped for Long-tailed Duck, but interest was provided by 216 D-b Brent, 2 Goldeneye, 7 Scaup, 2 R-b Mergs, 1690 B-h Gulls, 5 Slavonian and 27 G.C.Grebes.
35 Scaup (the largest flock I have ever seen in the Burry) floated down channel past Dalton’s Point on this morning’s falling tide (SS5396). Counts of other species seen in the Wernffrwd-Dalton’s Point section of the Burry included: 1 Common Scoter, 1 Great Northern Diver, 319 Dark-bellied Brent, 1 Pale-bellied Brent, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Great White Egret, 4 Greenshank, 121 Shoveler, 336 Wigeon, 460 Dunlin, 625 Black-tailed Godwit, 83 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2300 Knot. In the Afon Lliw e. of Waun Road (SS581972) were 1 Goosander, 1 Kingfisher and 2 Dipper. Finally I heard from Kaz & Andy Wilkinson that they saw 2 ring-tail Hen Harrier by the causeway at Weobley.
Birds seen during an unsuccessful search for the American Wigeon at high tide on the Glamorgan side of the Burry (from Salthouse Point and Dalton’s Point) produced counts in this section of Shelduck 200, Dark-bellied Brent Goose 391, Wigeon 121, Teal 30, Mallard 15, Pintail 440, Shoveler 53, Scaup 6 (the first I’ve seen in the estuary since May 2013), Red-breasted Merganser 6, Great Crested Grebe 21, Oystercatcher 1700 (a much lower number than usual!), Grey Plover 11, Knot 80, Dunlin 370, Black-tailed Godwit 594, Bar-tailed Godwit 118 (more than usual), Curlew 70, Greenshank 1, Redshank 402 & Carrion Crow 132.
After seeing them here and there, at last there was a Curlew Sandpiper on my patch this evening. Other species noted were 385 Black-wit, 42 Bar-wit, 8 Grey Plover, 320 Knot, 1 Spot-shank and my first Dark-bellied Brent, as usual a couple of weeks later than the first Pale-bellies.
A lone juvenile Ruff was loosely associating with the 202 strong Black-tailed Godwit flock, which was pushed by this evening’s high tide from Salthouse Point, to Pwll-y-ffroga then to the marsh edge in front of the chapel at Wernffrwd. A Grey Seal, a few Bar-wits, a Common Sandpiper and loads of Curlew and Oycs, but nothing unusual and then the sun went down.
Counts at Whiteford on the 15th included 6220 Oycs, 1008 Dunlin, 307 Ringed Plover, 3 Knot, 24 Turnstone, 5 Sanderling, 4 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 6 Black-wits, 6 Pale-bellied Brent, 26 Pintail& 48 Wigeon. There were 54+ Teal on the flooded Cwm Ivy Marsh.
osprey, marsh harrier and 4 whinchat today, also hummingbird hawk-moth at Horton
Juv Little Stint still present, also 12 Eider, 250 Ringed Plover, 400+ Dunlin, …
Nice to see a pair of Lapwings with 4 well grown chicks doing well in one of the dune slacks. Counts from the lighthouse scar included 2900 Herring Gulls (mostly immatures), 1744 Oystercatchers and 16 Little Egrets, so there’s obviously good feeding there at present. Unfortunately there were only a handful of smaller waders.
Surprised to see there were still a couple of Short-eared Owls hunting over the marsh this evening, plus a male Pintail flew into Penclawdd Pill adding more unseasonal flavour.
The Gull-billed Tern was seen by Christopher Onn on the north side of the bridge on the morning high tide, but it relocated to the south side as soon as the tide started to drop as was present pretty much all day it seems, though there was no sign of it on the evening high tide in the rain. Well done to the Spoonbill spotters (Darren & Terry I believe) – I was chuffed to catch up with them at lunch time. Other bits and bobs I saw during my am and pm visit were 100 Oystercatchers, 79 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 13 Sanderling, 12 Dunlin, 1 Curlew, 8 Whimbrel, 1 Med Gull & 250 Black-headed Gulls.
A rather splendid Gull-billed Tern entertained Chris Brewer, Neil Edwards, Sandra & myself this evening. It was feeding with a scattered group of Black-headed Gulls and eventually headed off to Morfa Baccas (Carms) where we left it on the sandflats at 20:20hrs. There’s limited parking between the rail and road bridges on the east side of the Loughor, where you can pop through the tunnel under the rail bridge to view the mudflats.
i have counts, but can’t find my notebook…there was a curlew sand with around 900 Dunlin, 80 sanderling, 20 whimbrel, 50 ringed plover, 2 curlew, 1000 Oycs & 700 herring gulls on the lighthouse scar today. A couple of sandwich terns and some whuhooing eiders made for a very pleasant session scanning through the throng, despite not finding anything terribly unusual. A garden warbler was unexpected in the dune scrub and a cuckoo on the hill was my first this year … Nice to get out for a change!
A Razorbill was an unexpected PWC bonus in ultra-calm conditions this evening, the downside being the swarms of biting midge. Linnet and Greenfinch were also patch additions for the year, more a reflection of how much effort I’ve put in than scarcity. 3 D-b Brent were still present along with 14 Grey Plover, 11 Whimbrel, but no hoped-for early terns / skuas.
bits and bobs seen today included 5 Sandwich Terns, 22 Whimbrel, 5 Manx, 1 Gannet, 18 Eider, 910 Oycs, 553 Herring Gulls, Whitethroat, Gropper, Sedge Warbler, Wheatear & Water Rail.
Smart male Redstart today
2 Great Northern Divers close into the inner head this morning. A few Wheatears on the headland and the odd hirudine were the only migrants seen.
Still 8 Wheatears on the open grassy area just north of the Llanmadoc Hill turning (11 yesterday), plus a fine male Ring Ouzel in the tumpy area immediately north of the turning SS435916.