Habitat management work has been progressing well over the past few weeks, with a particular focus on cutting back the vegetation on most of the lagoon islands to maintain good habitat for feeding, roosting and potentially nesting water birds, along with better opportunities for viewing them (picture above taken from one of the islands near Carneddau hide on the deep lagoon while work was being carried out).
With the winter birds now very much settled in, the variety around the reserve has remained fairly constant throughout the past month with highlights including regular sightings of firecrest around the discovery trail, up to two spotted redshank often present with the wader flocks on the lagoons, a Mediterranean gull on 14/11, and up to three Cetti's warblers which seem to be rather more consistently present than usual this winter. Great white egrets also continue to be seen, though less regularly than during the summer and autumn, with just a few sightings of one or two birds on several days.
Water rail have made frequent appearances, often in front of the coffee shop while other water birds have included regular merganser with a maximum of eight birds on 16/11, pochard and shoveler seen daily with high counts of six and 17 respectively, and a female goldeneye which has been present on most days with an additional female bird seen on 12/12. A great crested grebe was also on the estuary on 17/11.
Other waders have included regular greenshank and dunlin, along with seven black-tailed godwit on 23/11, a knot on 14/12, and daily flocks of lapwing which have been gradually building in number through the winter. Snipe are also present in good numbers around the lagoons though seem to be remaining rather elusive this year despite the vegetation being cut from the lagoon margins and islands.
A good variety of passerines have also been regularly seen including flocks of siskins, usually numbering up to 12 birds with individuals occasionally coming to the bird feeders. Bullfinches have been frequently seen as well with small flocks being encountered potentially anywhere around the trails, while stonechats have often been present in the scrub, particularly along the main track near the river Ganol. Up to three chiffchaff have also been recorded, along with regular goldcrests often accompanying the tit flocks. Redwings have made occasional appearances again, while choughs can be seen on most days passing over the reserve, usually in the early morning or late afternoon as they move between roosting and feeding areas.
Starlings have also been present in very small numbers, and we hope these will build up as we move into the new year to produce more of the spectacular murmurations which we often see here later in the winter.
Meanwhile several mammal sightings were recorded on our trail camera including a fox on 12/11, a badger on 20/11, and otters with two together on 4/12, and another individual on 7/12.
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