20 February 2012

Smew still at Upper Lougher

redhead Smew
This fantastic duck was found by Alastair Flannagan the Sunday before last (12th) at Upper Loughor. By all accounts it seems pretty loyal to a stretch of water about 1 mile upriver from the Loughor Bridge in the channel (SS565995) next to the broken-up stone structure along the bank . This area is best viewed from the lookout area found along the path north from Upper Loughor car park (SS571988).

Smew video

The Smew was quite happy for me to be close but a Goosander was not so trusting and it flushed the Smew before I could get out of the wind. This turned out to be a lucky break because the incoming tide would have forced me the long way back to the car had I left it 10 mins more (which I would have done, at least that!)

Anyway on to Salthouse Point for a bit of seawatching therapy. The waders and wildfowl were a little disappointing but a few raptors made up for that. Started with a Peregrine performing acrobatics while giving chase to a Dunlin. Next a male Hen Harrier flew along the marsh towards Llanrhidian and the female Merlin (shown below) kept me company for more than 5 mins.

female Merlin waiting for incoming tide to flush the next meal
I was wondering what she was doing for a while but my best guess is she was waiting for the incoming tide to flush a Meadow Pipit or some other prey. She flew into position not far from me and waited in this spot for more than 5 mins. I was scoping the estuary on top of a mound, guns were going off nearby (last day of shooting season) and she didn't falter. It was as if she had a really good plan and nothing was going to get in the way!

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