Little grebe with chicks

With the breeding season now well under way, the presence of young birds is highly evident around the reserve.

The lagoons are a great place to look out for birds with their young, with at least five broods of coot, three broods of little grebe and a brood of moorhens which have been easily visible from the coffee shop in recent days. Mallards with ducklings are very numerous around both lagoons with seven broods now recorded on our latest survey, though there's likely to be a few more than this as they often remain elusive in the reeds around the lagoon edges. While many young birds are vulnerable to predation, one female mallard on the deep lagoon has retained her brood of 13 young for over a week now, and a pair of Canada geese still have their brood of five, now rather large goslings on the paddocks near the Carneddau hide.

Meanwhile our house sparrows which many people will have seen live footage of in their nest box at the visitor centre, have now all fledged with the last one leaving the nest on the morning of 25/5.

Other bird highlights over the past couple of weeks have included some interesting waders with a bar-tailed godwit on 16/5, black tailed godwit on 17/5, sanderling on 22/5, and small numbers of dunlin on several days with a peak of 18 on the estuary on 25/5 in a mixed feeding flock with 18 ringed plover. At least two common sandpiper are also still present around the deep lagoon. The movement of whimbrel moving northwards has noticeably slowed down with just four birds reported on 13/5 and a further two on 20/5. Meanwhile further wheatears have been seen along the estuary track with three on 14/5 and one on 24/5. Wildfowl has included a single returning merganser, seen on 17/5 and 20/5, a pair of shoveler on 25/5 after several weeks of absence, and up to three teal which have remained on the deep lagoon. Three tufted duck and several gadwall have also been consistently around the lagoons, and the presence of any of these species at this time of year means there is the possibility that they might breed on the reserve. Red kites have been sighted again, with a single bird over the wood above the river Ganol at the far end of the reserve on 17/5, two over the car park on 19/5, and one drifting over the estuary on 25/5.

Mammal sightings have also been of interest with a polecat seen along the Ganol trail on 13/5, the first recorded day time sighting of the species on the reserve. This comes after two sightings have been recorded during the night on our trail camera over the past few months. There have also been further otter sightings in the lagoons with one on 17/5 and two on 24/5, along with several sightings of stoat.

Meanwhile as we advance further towards summer, more insects continue to be seen. An emergence of at least 30 blue-tailed damselflies on 13/5 were the first ones recorded this year. Butterflies have included the first holly blue on 15/5, the first common blue on 17/5, and also the first dragonflies, both male and female broad-bodied chaser seen on 19/5.