Highlights over the past month have included several jack snipe (photo by Marc Hughes) with individuals present on 8/10 and 11/10, and two on 20/10 seen on the shallow lagoon from the Tal y Fan hide and coffee shop. A great white egret flew over on 13/10, a female type marsh harrier was present on 13/10, and a juvenile goshawk was seen flying over the estuary on 20/10, another scarce bird for the reserve with only 14 previous records. 

Two whooper swans were present on the deep lagoon on 23/10, a sure sign of winter on the way, with a further four seen over the reserve on 28/10. Other winter arrivals have included the first goldeneye back on the deep lagoon on 27/10, two female pintail which have frequented the deep lagoon over the last few weeks, and a noticeable increase in other wildfowl species including up to 19 merganser, seven shoveler and small numbers of goosander and pochard. Large numbers of Wigeon and teal are now a common sight all over the lagoons and estuary as well, along with an increase in wintering waders including snipe and lapwing.

Other waders present have included regular greenshank with a peak of nine on several dates, black-tailed godwit present almost every day with a peak of 17 on 1/11, occasional bar-tailed godwit and two knot on 9/11.

A wheatear present on 12/10 and 13/10 was the last of the summer migrants, while a brambling over on 21/10 was another winter arrival. Meanwhile regular sightings of water rail and kingfisher around the lagoons, rock pipits along the estuary, goldcrests and treecreepers joining tit flocks in the trees, and choughs regularly seen flying over are all characteristic of the time of year as we move further towards winter.

A further sign of the winter season is the increase in habitat management work taking place around the reserve. So far, areas of reed have been cut around the boardwalk and close to Benarth hide to create feeding areas for water rail and to improve the chance of sightings, and tall vegetation has been cut along the margins of the shallow lagoon in front of the coffee shop to provide short vegetation for wintering wildfowl and waders. Meanwhile water pumping on to the shallow lagoon has brought the level up by about half a metre since the end of the summer, greatly improving conditions for water birds.

Events over the past month included Halloween themed activities for children during half term with The Big Pumpkin Bird Trail and Spooky Crafts on 28/10, and Silvery Spider Webs on 31/10. A Wildlife Drop In event was held in the afternoon on 1/11 where children could have a go at pond dipping, and a Fun-Play Friday event took place on 2/11 with a range of play equipment and activities available for younger visitors. Other special events over the month included a Binocular and Telescope weekend on 6/10 - 7/10, rabbit themed Story Telling and Activities for young children on 21/10, and for adults a Wildlife Photography Workshop with professional wildlife photographer Gary Jones on 27/10. Regular events included volunteer led guided Wildlife Walks every Saturday, Muddy Puddles for toddlers on Wednesdays, and Nordic Walking and Thai Chi Workshops for adults on Thursdays. As always, the Farmers Market was also held on the last Wednesday of the month on 31/10.

Anonymous