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Knock-you-off-your-feet wind gusts, persistent rain showers, slippery-with-mud woodland trails, cross-country orienteering along steep-sided reservoir banks and through much-overgrown long-under-used footpaths … these all added to an adventurous and exhilarating day’s birding on yesterday’s Glamorgan Bird Club trip to Llandegfedd Reservoir, north of Newport.

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The surrounding countryside is beautiful and the trail around the reservoir offers a good variety of different habitats, from woodland to wetland, for birds and other wildlife.

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Some of our ten intrepid birders heading through the woodland, while the wind roared through the tree canopy overhead.

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Looking back towards the dam you can see how low the water level is after this summer’s drought.

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One of our frequent stops to check what birds we could spot along the water’s edge. In the foreground a congregation of Cormorants and Black-headed gulls, in the background some of the 300-plus Canada geese, all hunkered down in the face of the gale-force winds.

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Can you spot the Wheatear that was dotting along the shore, prospecting for insects?

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Alan spotted an adult Yellow-legged gull (centre right, above) amongst the Black-headed gulls, a good opportunity to point out its diagnostic features to those unfamiliar with this bird.

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I don’t think I’d ever seen so many Canada geese in one place before. They sure can make a racket!

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Even the geese were struggling with the wind gusts – here you can see them leaning into the wind as they waddle along.

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And then someone spotted a Barnacle goose amongst all those Canadas and, though its origins were much debated – wild bird or escapee from a private estate or reserve? – seeing that lovely little Barnacle was the icing on the cake of a magnificent day for me, ’cause I sort of befriended the two Barnacle geese that used to be regulars at Roath Park when I lived in Cardiff. Seeing this bird was a nice reminder of those good times.

Full credit to the ten intrepid birders on yesterday’s trip as, despite the adverse weather conditions, we still managed to identify a very respectable 36 species. They were: Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, Coot, Ringed Plover, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Jay, Carrion Crow, Raven, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Swallow, Long-tailed Tit, Willow Warbler, Wren, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Blackbird, Robin, Northern Wheatear, and Pied Wagtail.