Unfortunately, my golfing partner cried off our game today (fed up with me thrashing him, no doubt!), so I had to find something else to do with my afternoon. I had heard that a Grey Phalarope, a bird I hadn't seen before, had been seen for the last few days at Sandy Water Park, a place near Llanelli. So, there I went!
Not long after I arrived, I met two fellows out looking for the bird. Neither had seen it, so I was not too hopeful. I walked anti-clockwise round the northern shore of the lake, spotting a couple of Kingfishers (or one Kingfisher twice!) as I went. As I came towards the far north-west corner, I spotted a distant bird floating on the water in front of a small reedbed about a hundred yards away across the lake. It looked a little like the numerous Black-headed Gulls that were drifting about on the pond, but a lot smaller. A look through the binoculars revealed it to be the sought-after Grey Phalarope. The nearest place to view the bird was a wooden fishing platform, which was being used by two people to watch it. Once they had moved on, I took their place, and was able to get a few distant shots. Soon enough, the bird moved further along the shore, and I was able to approach very closely to this notoriously tame species, and obtain a few photographs:
When it took flight, it seemed to reveal it had only one leg:
At one point, the phalarope tucked its head under its wing for a few minutes, presumably sleeping, but still seemed to be keeping a beady eye on the world, and all the while on the move, drifting about this way and that with the tide:
After I'd had my fill of the phalarope, I headed across the road for a quick look at 'Peoples Park', where I was told there was another small lake. There, I spotted this non-native Carolina- or Wood-Duck:
Plus, this male Shoveler, with his outsized bill:
And his equally well-endowed female companion:
So, a new species seen, and a new place discovered. Not sure it's better than golf, though!