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Though a cool wind was blowing in off the sea, yesterday was a gloriously sunny day for our Glamorgan Bird Club outing to Ogmore. The fine weather also meant we had a great turn out of 26 people, more than usual for our field trips.

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We started off near Portobello House, scanning the dunes of Merthyr Mawr and checking the River Ogmore, where the ubiquitous Cormorants were adorning this big dead tree in the water.

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A Kestrel hovered over the dunes, and we witnessed a spectacular chase by a Sparrowhawk after a Meadow pipit – only very blurry photos of that, unfortunately. (The mipit escaped.)

Two Wigeon flew in to join the Canada geese, Mallards and gulls up river.

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After grazing along the muddy banks down river for a time, this Curlew flew upstream to find another place to feed.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, our birding trips are not just about birds. Many birders are also interested in flora and other fauna so, yesterday, Dave was able to point out to us the invasive Buttonweed (Cotula coronopifolia) (he was the first to spot this plant in Wales!) and a Musk thistle (Carduus nutans). And another of our keen-eyed birders spotted this Wall butterfly, only the second time I’ve seen one of these beauties.

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After a wander up and down the riverbank we headed across the road and up a track into a series of small valleys, an area known locally as The Pant. As well as many other small birds, there were several Stonechats popping up and down in the shrubs and bracken.

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And then, what for me was the highlight of the day, really close views of a Kestrel hunting for its lunch. This handsome young male caught three creatures – probably voles or other small mammals – in the space of 10 minutes or so. It was incredible to watch how this bird’s amazing eyesight enabled it to hone in so accurately on its prey and, though I can’t help but have some sympathy for its victims, to see what an efficient hunter the Kestrel truly is.

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My total number of species for the day was 41: Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Cormorant, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Eurasian Curlew, Greenshank, Common Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Skylark, Long-tailed Tit, Common Chiffchaff, Wren, Nuthatch, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, European Stonechat, House Sparrow, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Linnet, Bullfinch and Willow Warbler.
I must have wandered off when these birds were seen: Greenfinch, Stock Dove, Jay, Jackdaw, Rook, Raven, Goldcrest and Dunnock.