In a week with large high tides fingers were crossed that a few goodies would turn up on the reserve. We weren’t left disappointed with 1x Bean Goose in amongst a flock of 25x Greenland White-fronted Geese (viewed from Poggles Bench, 24th), 2x Slavonian Grebe (Estuary, 22nd) and 1x Glaucous Gull (Breakwater and Domen Las Hide, 22nd), being great finds by visitors to the reserve.
The view from Poggles Bench on one of this weeks large high tides.
The January Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) was undertaken on the 23rd coinciding with a whopping 5.8m high tide. Highlights from the main reserve included, 21x Greenland White-fronted Geese, 124x Shelduck, 4x Gadwall, 122x Pintail, 24x Shoveler, 409x Wigeon, 266x Teal, 5x Goldeneye, 7x Red-Breasted Merganser, 8x Little Egret, 178x Oystercatcher, 2x Ringed Plover, 31x Dunlin, 117x Redshank, 1x Spotted Redshank, 16x Black-tailed Godwit and 313x Curlew.
An excellent number of raptor species were reported during the week including, Red Kite (small numbers spread across reserve, daily), 1x Hen Harrier (female, Domen Las Hide, 22nd), 1x Goshawk (Breakwater Hide, 22nd), Peregrine Falcon (saltmarsh, regular) and 1x Merlin (Ynys Edwin, occasional).
Other interesting sightings included, 2x Great Crested Grebe (Estuary, 24th) and 1x Woodcock (flew over Visitor Centre, 21st).
This Kingfisher was photographed by Keith Roberts from the Domen Las Hide on the 19th.
A calm frosty start to the 18th provided the perfect opportunity to head out onto the reserve and do a bit of wildlife watching. On arrival at the Visitor Centre a Water Rail skidded across the frozen pools below. A Woodcock rose up from a small woodland pool on the lower Green Trail. Further along four Mistle Thrush were feeding on the short turf around the Ynys Edwin Pool with one bird later singing high up in the trees. A single Red Kite perched up to take in some early morning rays near Ynys Edwin. The Breakwater field produced a Taverner’s Goose seen feeding alongside Canada Geese, the bird an escapee which has frequented the reserve for a few years. In total 63 bird species were recorded, not bad given that the stroll coincided with a low tide.
Here is a record photo of the Taverner's Goose (left bird) alongside a Canada Goose (right bird) note the smaller size and darker plumage.
The woodland trails and their leafless canopies can feel devoid of wildlife at this time year however with a bit of strategy a woodland ramble at Ynys-hir could prove very productive. Choose a calm sunny day and take your time, making regular stops in order to listen for sounds of life. That’s the exact strategy I employed on the Green Trail during the week where a stand of larch on the lower trail provided views of foraging Lesser Redpoll and Siskin, their presence given away via a steady flow of husks from the canopy. A seeping call allowed me to locate a small Redwing flock feeding on ivy berries around the Ynys-hir Hide. Whilst eyes to the tree canopy in search of movement provided views of numerous Great, Blue and Coal Tit with the occasional Goldcrest and Treecreeper thrown in for good measure.
Keep a lookout for wing-tagged Red Kites like this one photographed by Keith Roberts.
The Visitor Centre feeding station has been a hive of activity with Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Siskin all regulars. Talking of feeding the birds, are you aware that the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend is nearly upon us. Check out this link in order to find out more information on one of the UK’s biggest citizen science surveys.
Other interesting sightings this week included, 5x Gadwall (Visitor Centre Pools, regular), c.160 Teal (Ynys Edwin Pool, daily), 6+ Goldeneye (Domen Las Hide, daily), 1x Great Northern Diver (Breakwater Hide, occasional), 2x Grey Plover (Breakwater Hide, 18th), 8x Bar-tailed Godwit (saltmarsh, 18th), 1x Common Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, daily) and 2x Stonechat (Covert Coch, daily).
Great views of Redshank can be had from the Domen Las Hide at present (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).
Finally, just a quick heads up that the Dovey Estuary will experience some high tides next week, peaking at 5.8m on Friday 23rd (10:14 AM). In terms of wildlife this will result in most of the saltmarsh becoming inundated with sea water pushing wintering birds up and over the railway line and onto the reserve’s wet grassland and pools. A seat in the Ynys Feurig and Saltings Hide should provide great viewing two hours before and after high tide.
Hello and Happy New Year to you all!
I’ll begin with an update on “JNA” a drake Teal with a lime green nasal saddle. The bird sighted on the Ynys Edwin pool back in December was ringed in 2012 on the Gironde estuary near Bordeaux, France. Over 160 Teal remain on the Ynys Edwin pool however there was no sign of JNA this week. Other species at Ynys Edwin included, 4x Mute Swan, 7x Shoveler, 1x Gadwall, 1x Little Egret, 1x Kestrel and 1x Stonechat.
Triggered by the increase in day length a handful of bird species have started to train there vocal chords for the upcoming breeding season with Robin, Mistle Thrush, Wren, Great Tit and even a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker heard emitting a few notes during the week.
Another sign that spring is around the corner are the early blooms of hazel. Hazel is monoecious meaning that both the male and female flowers are found on the same tree. Here you can see the small red female flower and the yellow male catkins.
With large high tides throughout the week the Breakwater field proved productive with 4x Shelduck (Ynys Feurig Hide, regular), 159x Teal (Ynys Feurig Hide, 10th), 1350+ Lapwing (Ynys Feurig Hide, 11th), 83x Dunlin (Ynys Feurig Hide, 9th), 7+ Redshank (Ynys Feurig Hide, 9th), 1x Peregrine Falcon (Ynys Feurig Hide, 11th), 1x Kestrel (Ynys Feurig Hide, 11th) and 1x Sparrowhawk (Breakwater Hide, 11th) of note.
A male Bullfinch has been showing incredibly well in front of the Domen Las Hide (Many Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo).
Other interesting sightings included, 1x Pink-footed Goose (saltmarsh, regular), 12+ Greylag Geese (saltmarsh, regular), 11x Goldeneye (4 male 7 female, Domen Las Hide, 10th), 2x Goosander (Domen Las Hide, 10th), 3x Red-Breasted Merganser (Breakwater Hide, 10th), 2x Little Grebe (Marian Mawr Hide, daily), 1x Red Kite (saltmarsh, daily), 1x Hen Harrier (female, Covert Du Hide, 9th), 1x Common Sandpiper (Domen Las Hide, daily), 1x Spotted Redshank (Breakwater Hide, 9th), 6x Black-tailed Godwit (Domen Las Hide, 11th), 4x Bar-tailed Godwit (saltmarsh, 11th), 10+ Long-tailed Tit (Domen Las Hide, 10th) and 1x Brambling (Visitor Centre feeders, 7th).
Up to six Black-tailed Godwit have been feeding on the estuary viewable from the Domen Las Hide (Many Thanks to John Davis for the photo).