Friday 1 December 2023

Green-winged teal, late Swallow and harriers, Marloes Mere

Nice to bump into regular visitors the Hewetts this afternoon and share 30 minutes in the Britton Hide. Alan picked out the juvenile Marsh harrier, just visible sat among the vegetation at 2:15pm, which was a nice start. It eventually got up and drifted west. A smart male Merlin did a couple of fly-bys at 2:50pm quickly followed by the male Hen harrier, who had a leisurely cruise around. At 3:10pm it was the turn of the ringtail to put in an appearance, who then brought up the male, which must have been sat in cover, so both birds cruised around before drifting eastwards. With much of the water frozen apart from the new pool there were plenty of duck on show to check through but frustratingly no sign of the GW teal, there was one drake snoozing on the vegetation fringe just in front of the hide, which had weak head piping but I couldn't get a decent view of its flank but the dozen or so others that were in sight were all Eurasian. As the harriers shifted the smaller duck around I noticed about 20-30 teal dropped out of sight towards the north irrigation pond, so having exhausted what was in front I headed back to the car park. Sure enough the 30 teal were at the near end of the north irrigation pond and scoping through revealed the Green-winged teal among them. Biggest surprise was a late Swallow, passing once over the mere. Otherwise, 5 Tufted duck also in the north irrigation. 7-8 Little grebe. 4 Gadwall were shadowing the diving coots, picking up titbits from the weed the coots were bringing up - used to see them doing it at Bosherston but first time here. A heron in the middle of the road near Slatemill on my way down had me worried but it flew off strongly, likely frozen off it's usual haunt.