Waterfowl

For the third Tuesday morning in a row we had glorious sunshine.  Quite amazing considering the rather extreme February weather that we have had, the Garden itself being closed on 2 days due to high winds.

As the last bird count was a month ago the intention was to do the same again so that we can build up a record of how the species vary over the year, and in later years compare the results for each year.  Obviously the weather is a crucial factor in all of this, and the contrast between this year and last is quite extreme.  Thus this years mild winter has meant that we haven’t had the few of the winter migrants that we had last year – very few Fieldfares though Redwings did put in an appearance this week.

Although we started off from the Stable block as usual, we reversed our usual route and headed out past the Wallace garden and the Great Glasshouse down towards the entrance to Waun Las.   From there we did see one of our Grey Wagtails and away in the distance a large flock of Jackdaws, about 40 in total.  Two of our members, Colin Jones and Julian Friese who are the ‘real’ birders, had gone off on their own to fix  Dipper bird boxes under the bridges in Pont Felin Gat, and later under the bridge at the Waun Las entrance.

One of the other regular tasks we are now undertaking is to count the Waterfowl on the lakes.  On Llyn Canol the count was 22 Moorhens, 17 Mallard, 5 Teal and 3 Little Grebe – it would seem that most of last years Grebe chicks have survived the winter.  Also across the far side of the lake we spotted what could be the entrance to a Badger sett.  This is a location where Badgers were known to be present many years ago when the Garden was being created.  However, it is a rather inaccessible place, but perhaps when we get a Dingy we will be able to get closer and observe it better.

On to Llyn Uchaf and here the overall count was 9 Moorhen, 15 Mallard, 2 Coot and 1 Little Grebe and in Pwyll yr Ardd, the lake near the Aqualab just 3 Mallards and 3 Moorhens plus a couple of Mallards on the stream near Plant Sales. We were also pleased to see a couple of small flocks of Redwings, 9 and 5 respectively and a pair of Missel Thrushes in the bushes below the Slate beds.

One puzzle has always been why are there no Swans on the lakes?  Various reasons have been put forward, one of them being that there isn’t enough clear space for them to land and take off.  They are big birds and take a lot of time to get airborne.  But is that really the case here?  The Hornor paintings show Swans on at least one of the lakes.

Our final treat was a Goldcrest flitting about in the tree on the corner by the Circle of Decision.

The bird species we spotted included Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, Songthrush, Missel Thrush, Dunnock, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Grey Wagtail, Moorhen, Coot, Teal, Little Grebe, Redwing (14), Goldcrest.

Thanks  to John for the photos and if any volunteer or member is interested in joining us please  send an email to Colin Miles  – you DON’T have to be an expert in anything, just interested.   If you click on any of the images in these blogs, or anywhere else you will see a larger picture. And if you click on the Wildlife Walks heading on the left-hand side under News you will see a list of the last 10 Wildlife Survey blogs

If you find an injured bird, hedgehog or other wild animal and want help and advice then phone the Gower Bird hospital. on 01792 371630.

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