Today is the last day of the meteorological Summer, but for many of our visiting birds, Autumn is always well underway. Swallows are gathering at the reserve each evening, finding a safe roost in our reedbeds before they continue their journey south. Watch Ian Collier's short video taken here last week. A small roost of starlings is gathering too; these are probably local breeding birds rather than the Russian visitors that will arrive in their thousands later in the winter.
There are small numbers of sand martins among the house martins each day, and we've still been seeing swifts most days (most recently yesterday, 30th), but each day could be the last. A juvenile stonechat has been here for a couple of weeks, presumably a locally nesting bird, and was still present this morning along the Ganol Trail. Nuthatch, jay and great spotted woodpecker have been seen this week too, moving out of nearby woodlands in search of new supplies of food.
It's not been a classic for scarce waders so far this autumn, but it's wonderful to see more than 20 black-tailed godwits among the redshanks; whimbrel and common sandpiper are still seen most days, and green sandpiper has been daily up to Sunday (30th) at least. A turnstone was a good record on Saturday (29th), while more than a dozen dunlins fed busily on the shallow lagoon last week. A few wigeons are on the estuary, freshly arrived from their northern breeding grounds, while gadwall, pochard and half a dozen goosanders are further indicators of the changing season.
White wagtails are regular visitors here in Spring, but scarcer in the autumn, perhaps because it's hard to tell females and juveniles apart from their pied wagtail cousins, but we've seen singles here on Tuesday (25th) and Saturday (29th). A kingfisher has been spotted regularly during the week too.
Lots of the common butterflies have been flying this week, and common blues have been especially plentiful. A painted lady was a nice find this morning, while common darters have been giving great photographic opportunities judging by our Twitter feed.
Now that the birds' breeding season is over, we will be cutting and strimming the vegetation to the sides of the footpaths and in front of the viewpoints. We'll be notifying visitors on arrival in the Centre, but please be aware that there will be some localised disturbance.