Having arrived in mid-Novemeber, Firecrests have continued to be the star attraction on the reserve over the past month, with daily sightings of at least three birds putting on a good show for visitors who've travelled to see them. The birds have been frequenting various locations along the discovery trail, usually up as far as the Bridge pond and Tal y Fan hides, with occasional sightings close to the visitor centre and around the car park (photo by Mike Nesbitt).
A good variety of wildfowl has been consistently present on the lagoons with daily sightings of mergansers usually numbering between 10 and 20, up to three goldeneye, and shoveler and pochard with up to five of each usually present. A female common scoter first seen on 16/11 remained up until 24/11, while a single great crested grebe has also been present daily. Wigeon and teal have generally numbered into the hundreds with good numbers of gadwall and tufted duck also present. Water rail sightings continue to be regular and kingfisher has also been seen on several occasions.
Wader highlights have uncluded greenshank on several days with a peak of seven on 14/12, bar-tailed godwit present with the curlew roosts on 11/12 and 14/12, up to two wintering black-tailed godwit seen on most days since the beginning of December, and small numbers of dunlin with the redshank roosts. Snipe have become much more visible since the vegetation was cut from the lagoon islands with 75 recorded during the WeBS count on 17/11, and a woodcock was seen flying over the reserve at dusk on 3/12 and 6/12.
Chiffchaff are over-wintering on the reserve again with sightings on several days, and a cetti's warbler was heard on 26/11. Regular feeding flocks of thrushes have included good numbers of redwings, while other passerines have featured numerous goldcrests, and flocks of linnets often feeding on the lagoon islands.
Non avian sightings included two Daubenton's bats feeding over the deep lagoon in front of Benarth hide on 23/11, and a fox jumping over the boardwalk at dusk on 3/12.
Meanwhile the festive season is in full swing here on the reserve with the '12 Birds of Christmas' quiz trail which runs throughout the christmas school holidays, and a 'Nature's Christmas and Search for Santa' event which took place on 1/12, featuring arts and crafts stalls, carol singing, marshmallow toasting and of course Santa himself with his two elves! (pictured). 'Christmas Campfire' events for children are also scheduled in the morning and afternoon on 21/12, while the 'New Year's Day Bird Walk' will be the perfect opportunity to get your 2020 bird list off to a good start! Other regular events have included Muddy Puddles for pre-school children every Wednesday morning during term, Nordic Walking and Tai-Chi Workshops on Thursdays, and the monthly Farmer's Market which was held on 27/11. This month's Farmers Market will take place a week earlier than usual on 18/12.
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