Last Saturday was the monthly Glamorgan Bird Club walk at Kenfig National Nature Reserve on the south Wales coast and this time, as the high tide time worked in perfectly, our large group of 28 enthusiasts headed down the eastern side of the reserve towards Sker.
With so many eyes on the look out as we walked through scrub and across parts of the golf course, we soon had a respectable total of small birds but the highlights came as we got closer to the sea. Near Sker House, a small Starling murmuration swirled about in ever-changing formations before pausing to rest on overhead wires.
Then, we were entertained by a small party of Stonechats, dotting in and out of the vegetation surrounding a wire fence.
Moving on, we had distant views of Curlews and godwits in a field. At first we thought the godwits were Black-tailed but, on closer examination and with the help of reserve ranger Dave’s local knowledge, they were identified as Bar-tailed godwits, not particularly common hereabouts.
The best part of the day for me was at Sker Rocks, where we enjoyed really close views of several wader species. Small flocks of Sanderlings flitted back and forth from the rocks to the beach and, at times, were less than 20 feet away, scurrying hurriedly along the sand, poking about for food. A single Ringed plover sat alone by the water’s edge for a time, and then was replaced by four beautifully marked Golden plovers. (I got some reasonable photos of the Sanderlings and Golden plovers so will post separate blogs on them.)
As we headed back inland, one of our younger birders, Tate, spotted a Shag fishing very close to the rocks – not a bird that’s seen much locally so a nice sighting.
And some of us headed down to Kenfig Pool for a quick look but there wasn’t anything of note, and fishermen sitting much closer to the bird hide than they’re supposed to meant that wasn’t worth visiting.
It was an excellent day’s birding and my species total was a very respectable 48: Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Grey Heron, Shag, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Coot, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, European Golden Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Skylark, Swallow, House Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, European Stonechat, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Goldfinch, Linnet, Bullfinch, and Reed Bunting.
Also seen/heard but not by me: Sand Martin, Common Buzzard, Tufted Duck, Raven, Common Chiffchaff, Northern Wheatear, and Water Rail (this last one was a shame, as it would’ve been a year tick for me, but them’s the birding breaks!).