Thursday, 22 March 2012

Phew! It was warm today

I got out into the sunshine as soon as possible and made my way down to Penclacwydd.  My enthusiasm was soon dampened as March lived up to what I have always thought.  Winter has petered out and Spring is still a way off even if wild flowers and sunshine are a little seductive.   Most of the winter birds had gone except for a few Pintail, Shoveler and Wigeon.  A single Pink-footed Goose (a rarity in these parts) looked weird feeding with the local Greylags.  I did hear a couple of Chiffchaffs singing which at least had me anxious to find other migrants.

Male Pintail

I moved on to Burry Port and Cefn Sidan but these areas were also lacking many birds and certainly no sign of Spring.  Eventually I reached Kidwelly Quay always a good bet.  No such luck - workman were everywhere replacing paving slabs and the tide was way out.  I moved around to Glyn yr Afon to look for the long staying Long-billed Dowitcher and was successful after only a few minutes.  It was with its faithful Redshank companion but extremely jumpy so no new photos.  Five Greenshank also caught my eye and of course more Chiffchaffs singing.

The Long-billed Dowitcher still at Kidwelly

I decided to head for home and stopped off to try and get some photographs of Tree Sparrows at Dryslwyn car park.  I managed one or two and reflected how fortunate we are to have a healthy population of this declining species in the Tywi Valley.  We have local ornithologists John Lloyd and Julian Frieze together with local landowners to thank for the success of this perky bird.

Tree Sparrow at Dryslwyn

Before I left I decided to try and see an early Little Ringed Plover.  This is another speciality of the valley with over 65 pairs of this scarce wader nesting annually on exposed shingle in the river.  I had no luck because of a tractor/digger excavating large amounts of shingle to a pile which was obviously going to be used for road repairs/building on one of the local farms.  Now as I understand it this is seen as a damaging activity for the Site of Special Scientific Interest which the Tywi is and so what is the Countryside Council for Wales doing to stop this practise.  Not a lot I suspect.  It is a particularly sensitive time anyway as these dainty plovers are just arriving from Africa to set up territories along the river.

Little Ringed Plover

Removing shingle from the Tywi river

I stopped off at Cilsan Bridge long enough to see our Whooper Swan  flock of 25 has reduced to 14. So Spring is coming and the proof was in the temperature of 18 degrees today.

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