Early Bewick’s, Slimbridge

Bewick's Swans

Only three days after I listed my earliest sightings for winter migrants, a couple of swans on the Rushy slaughtered my record for Bewick’s by nearly a month. They’re so early that you have to go back to 2003 to find the same date for Slimbridge. Now some are predicting a harsh winter because of this but I was in Auchmithie, then Dundee over 2003/4 and I don’t recall any severity. I think the swans are early because they’re early.

A nice number of pintails complemented the Bewick’s and a grey wagtail became a late 101st species for me at the site. As I left, my first fieldfares of the winter flew over the In Focus hide.

I was heading for the Kymin, which didn’t occupy much of my time and would have occupied less if a couple of ravens hadn’t danced overhead. Then I was in two minds but settled on checking Llandegfedd Reservoir, which the local road signs helpfully spell out as Llandegveth for us non-Welshies.

That was quiet so I tried for a cuppa in Pontypool and found myself in the horrors of Cwmbran. It’s a Welsh Redditch. So it had the saving grace of a Julian Graves for cheap sunflower seeds.

The birding didn’t get any better when I pushed south to investigate mysterious reports of bearded tits from Peterstone Wentlooge. That should be in Belgium, surely? Anyhow, there was no evidence of anywhere to stop, let alone bird.

The tit location remains a mystery. That sounds like a good start to a novel.

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