Trip reports

Field Trip to WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre

Field Trip to WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre
Corrine Jenkins

Sunday, 19 March 2017

We were greeted with a very overcast sky, with slate grey cloud and a very keen easterly wind as twelve of us met at the Wetland car park. However, at least it remained dry throughout the day, unlike the previous rain soaked week.

As the tide was in, we made our way to the British Steel Hide which gives splendid elevated views of the distant Bury Inlet and Marsh scrapes. As we passed the exotic bird enclosures, a mute swan on its nest was noted. However, due to the wind, the foreign bird species were keeping a low profile.

At the Hide, a long-tailed duck was seen diving in one of the adjacent ponds. Black-headed gulls were also on the pond with their summer plumage of a chocolate brown head. Also noted were shelduck, two shoveler, tufted duck and we had splendid views of a pintail on the water and later on the bank. A buzzard was also spotted perched in a tree nearby.

While we were viewing the pond, a flock of at least eighty black-tailed godwits flew in and sought shelter from the wind on one of the banks. On another pond near the estuary, lesser black-backed gulls and herring gulls were noted.

On the scrapes looking out over the estuary, widgeon were seen sheltering by one of the islands as well as great black-backed gulls, cormorants, a lone little egret and cowering mallard.

A great find was a mediterranean gull which was spotted by one of our group amongst some black-headed gulls and we noted the difference between the two species of gull with the mediterranean gull having a thicker red bill and darker head plumage than the black-headed gulls. Also seen were canada and greylag geese further out on the estuary.

We then made our way to the Heron Wing Hide which gave us shelter with its large glass windows which overlooked the Deep water lake. As we ate our lunch, pochard, teal, tufted duck and a little grebe, which was busily diving, were recorded. Lapwing were also seen on one of the islands. However, there was a marked absence of any wading species.

To get a different view of the lake, we moved on to the Peter Scott Hide where coot and herring gull in breeding plumage were seen as well as a male and female gadwall. As we walked back to the visitor centre, a great spotted woodpecker was seen in the trees and also a flurry of long-tailed tits in the brambles. Carrion crow and magpie were also noted.

Back at the visitor centre, some of us did a spot of armchair birding and, around one of the feeders, we had good views of chaffinch, blue tit, great tit, collared dove, greenfinch, a female great spotted woodpecker and a moorhen on the branches of a tree. The smaller birds being chased off the feeder when a flock of jackdaw arrived. Chiffchaff were also heard and some of our group saw a goldcrest.

So, it was a good change for us to visit the Llanelli Wetland reserve at a different time of year.

Viv Jenkins