A mixture of autumn migrants passing through the reserve, along with winter birds arriving has resulted in a nice variety of bird species present over the last few weeks.

Water rails have been particularly prominent with regular sightings of up to four birds being seen together, often along the edge of the shallow lagoon in front of the coffee shop (library photo by Dave Williams).

A good variety of waders have included a jack snipe which has been present since 13/10 and surprisingly easy to view on the islands in front of the Carneddau hide. A little stint which had been previously present stayed up until 17/9, a green sandpiper was seen on 13/9, several ruff made appearances with a maximum of three on 15/9, a spotted redshank was regular again, while a golden plover also seen on 15/9 was particularly notable being a rather scarce visitor to the reserve. Other waders of interest included black-tailed godwit with a maximum of 13 on 16/9, regular bar-tailed godwit and greenshank, and good numbers of common snipe returning for the winter.

Wildfowl again featured up to two garganey which have remained present throughout the past few weeks, while pintail were also recorded with two on 17/9 and individuals on 26/9 and 28/9. The first goldeneye of the winter season appeared on 15/10, while the WeBS count on 10/10 revealed numbers of the more common species building up nicely as we head towards winter with 181 wigeon, 168 teal and 23 shoveler. Small numbers of merganser have also started to make appearances in recent weeks.

Bird migration has also featured a variety of both breeding birds leaving including a whinchat on 12/9, and occasional wheatear passing through on several dates, while the arrival of wintering birds has been evident, particularly with good numbers of redwing passing overhead including at least 350 birds on 15/10. Seven crossbill were also noted overhead on 14/10, along with two brambling over and five siskin feeding in the alders also on 15/10.

Jays have been on the move a lot this autumn with many counts larger than usual both in the local area and further afield, producing regular sightings on the reserve with a high count of 14 birds over on 12/10. Choughs are also being seen regularly overhead as they move between their roosts and feeding areas, with a very good reserve count of 29 birds over on 2/10.

Some other good records for the reserve have included a marsh harrier on 14/9, a green woodpecker seen by the reserve entrance on 10/10, and a guillemot on the estuary on 13/10.

Meanwhile up to two great white egrets continue to be seen regularly around the lagoons and estuary, a kingfisher continues to put in frequent appearances, and up to two cetti’s warblers are also present.

With winter approaching and temperatures dropping, the last of the insects to be seen for the year have included several red admiral butterflies and a comma on 16/9, while dragonflies have continued to include numerous migrant hawkers and common darters.