Saturday, 23 January 2021

Garron Pill/Coedcanlas yesterday and Carew Millpond the day before

We have managed to have a look at parts of the Cleddau estuary during the last couple of days. It was nice to see Richard C. at Garron Pill on his cycle ride through the area just before we set off along the shore towards Coedcanlas. Despite a heavy down-poor we watched impressive numbers of Golden Plovers and Lapwings feeding and resting in the closely cropped sheep-grazed pasture near Coedcanlas. This being a regular winter location for them. We assumed these birds to be the large flock from the upper Daugleddau area. We could see small flocks arriving from the north to join the mass of a few thousand birds. There were also more than 500 Lapwings, 50+ Curlews and at least 60 Dunlin feeding in the grassland, with a few gull species, including Common Gull. 

A blizzard of Golden Plovers - only a small proportion of the flock in the air in this photo!

There were quite good numbers of Teal (130+), Wigeon (150+) and Shelduck (c.40) in the Garron Pill area. 50+ Skylarks were seen along the Coedcanlas shore and there were many more in a nearby stubble field. Several Snipe were flushed from the shoreline vegetation, including a Jack Snipe that came up from under Annie's feet (quite typical for this species – not seen until you almost tread on one!).  

The previous day we managed to look at parts of the Carew/Cresswell system. Shelduck numbers were quite high (100+) but we could not see many other ducks; most were probably were feeding in the saltmarsh zones out of sight. Up at Carew Millpond a large gull caught our attention. Clearly a Herring-type but with darker grey wing feathers. When it eventually stood up from its resting/sleeping posture, we could see that its tarsi were a dirty yellowish pink. Through the telescope its eye had a pale grey orbital ring and a dark pupil. We were hoping it would take flight which it eventually did, revealing quite a large amount of white on the tips of the outer-most primaries. We concluded that it was a good candidate for the northern (argentatus) race.