Brecknock Winter Bird Watch!

This Mute Swan is ready for her close up!      2020 Vision

This Mute Swan is ready for her close up! 2020 Vision

The air fills with the excited whistles and calls from from our wonderful winter wildfowl....simply delightful!

A beautiful Goosander by Keith Noble.

A beautiful Goosander by Keith Noble.

Every year Llangorse Lake becomes home to thousands of wonderful winter wildfowl! The lake is the perfect 'home' or 'fuel stop' for many species as they make their annual journey.

Even in the summer, the lake is thronging with life. Golden-eye, Tufted Duck, Manderin, Mute Swans, Shelduck, Little and Great White Egrets, Widgeon, Great-crested and Little Grebe, Pintail, Pochard and several gull species are among those which can be seen. Occasionally a rarity turns up fluttering a few feathers among the birding community! 🙂

The lake itself is quite special in its own right. It is the largest natural lake in south Wales, in a basin formed by the scouring action of ice. It was also the home to ancient royalty who built a Crannog dated to 8th/9th century. This is a small artificial island with a dwelling platform. There is a reconstruction on the north side of the lake, quite near to the original.

Early January is the usual time of year for WTSWW-Brecknock’s most popular event, the Winter Bird Watch! Up to 40 bird enthusiasts gather at Ty Mawr, welcomed by WTSWW Volunteers and event hosts Nigel, Joyce and Rachael. Guided by Brecknock county Bird Recorder, Andrew King and expert volunteer Keith Noble, we walk through their wildlife friendly meadows to the edge of the water, binoculars and telescopes poised. Often we get distracted by the myriad of woodland and hedgerow birds on the way.

Gradually we work our way along the southern shores of Llangorse Lake towards the hide at Llangasty, stopping periodically to scan the water. Andrew and Keith’s experienced eyes can pick out something different, bobbing amongst a flock of mixed species, several meters from shore and guide other observers to its location. Returning to Ty Mawr we warm up with homemade hot soup cooked by Alison and Cheryl.

As with many things this year, COVID-19 has meant that we have to rethink the format. Andrew has kindly offered to lead a walk in December and one in January. We have vastly reduced numbers so that we can offer the best experience and allow for social distancing.

This has meant that both walks were booked up within a week of advertising locally and have waiting lists. Fingers are crossed that they will be able to go ahead as planned but this will depend on re Covid restrictions at the time.

Thank you Andrew, we couldn’t do this without you! Keith, Alison and Cheryl….enjoy your year off and we will have to see what the situation is next year.

Pauline Hill. WTSWW People and Wildlife Officer - Brecknock