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.
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.
Some of our ten intrepid birders heading through the woodland, while the wind roared through the tree canopy overhead.
Looking back towards the dam you can see how low the water level is after this summer’s drought.
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.
Can you spot the Wheatear that was dotting along the shore, prospecting for insects?
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.
I don’t think I’d ever seen so many Canada geese in one place before. They sure can make a racket!
Even the geese were struggling with the wind gusts – here you can see them leaning into the wind as they waddle along.
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.