Encouraged to count at least 18 Swift this morning over the River Ogmore in Bridgend Town Centre this morning. All feeding between the Church and the Council Offices. We counted 20 on arrival last month, so very good news indeed.
A short seawatch 0535-0705 this morning off Irongate point in strong WNW winds at high tide produced the following all flying down-channel: 4 Gannet, 4 Common Scoter, 1 Fulmar, 1 GBB Gull and the highlight a Storm Petrel from 0615 which was lingering close in a few hundred yards off the shelter. Several Starling, House Sparrow and Linnet were nearby and a Siskin flew over calling.
A short seawatch in strong westerlies with blustery showers produced the following all down channel: 430 Manx Shearwater, 4 Fulmar, 1 Gannet, 1 Cormorant, 6 Common Scoter and 6 Kittiwake.
41 species recorded on this mornings late visit to the square, taking the species total to 50 for both visits, slightly down on last year but was very pleased to add a singing Spotted Flycatcher which is new for the square. It was quiet at Watermill itself, just Crows and a couple of Canada Geese, but a few Whitethroat and Sedge Warblers were singing closeby. Sand Martins appear to be doing well in two different colonies. Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers as well as a Kingfisher were noted at Coed Pwll-y-flew as were a surprise Red Fox and two lovely Beautiful Demoiselle dragonflies.
A Little Tern flew south / up-channel at the north end of Lock’s Common at 0815. A lovely fresh morning with very light southerlies, the only other birds of note were 15 immature Gannet also u/c. No waders, so maybe a clear out overnight. A male Wheatear was present and fledged Starlings were present in places.
There was an Oriole Birding Group, DCB, DGC and myself all out at Sker this morning! Despite the easterly winds 10+Manx Shearwater, 25+Gannet and 2 Arctic Tern were moving up channel. An excellent selection of waders many acquiring or in breeding plumage were on offer for the early risers on the high tide: 4 Oystercatcher, a Ringed Plover, 6 Grey Plover, 5+Dunlin, 50+Sanderling, 15 Turnstone, 17 Purple Sandpiper, 15+Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Curlew. A Red Admiral butterfly also moved through and a Grey Seal was poking its nose out of the water just off the point.
There was a blend of winter meets spring in the cool east / north easterly winds as 7 Purple Sandpipers sat alongside 2 Whimbrel and three summer plumage Turnstone on the rocks at Hutchwns Point . Two Swift and 2 Sand Martin flew through. There were also 3 Wheatear present but these were constantly harassed by the local breeding Rock Pipits. Offshore 2 Common Scoter flew down-channel and a Fulmar was patrolling the cliffs. I wouldn’t have seen the Fulmar were it not for me staying to watch the constant low circling overhead of an A350-1000 Airbus!
Early morning in pretty calm but cool conditions 0745-1100. Six Whimbrel flew north at Irongate Point, but little else so we moved up to the Common. A newly arrived Whitethroat welcomed us and there were at least 5 Wheatear in among the rocks just to the south of the common. There was some wader movement with an estimated 90 Bar-tailed Godwit in three groups which appeared to be pushed back south by a sudden heavy rain shower and the flew back towards the Ogmore estuary. Apart from that just 2 Swallows and the usual local breeding residents.
A lovely morning with gentle cool E/NE winds. Two Little Egret, a pair of displaying Great Crested Grebes, several pairs of Shelduck, 12 Eider, 300+ Oystercatcher, 39 Ringed Plover, 29 Dunlin, 2 Sanderling, 1 Turnstone, 30 Bar-tailed Godwit (most in sum plum – record shot), 30 Whimbrel, 3 Curlew, calling Green Woodpecker, 6 Wheatear, 20+ Swallow, 1 House Martin and 2 Sand Martin.
Cold NW and little activity early seawatching apart from 3 Turnstone at Irongate Point, so I moved to Lock’s Common 0730-0830: 9 Common Scoter, 2 Whimbrel and 3 Curlew flew down-channel also a 8 Swallow and a House Martin moving north. An immature Mediterranean Gull in summer plumage (prob 2nd summer) flew towards Rest Bay.
A short visit was productive nonetheless as I was welcomed by 3 Swallows, a House Martin and 3 Shelduck. A Great White Egret was flying east out in the Bay. In the scrub near the farm there was a Lesser Whitethroat rattling away and 2 Blackcap, 3 Willow Warbler and 3 Chiffchaff.
It was a fine clear morning with light southerlies, though a touch chilly, as I took a walk from Rest Bay out to Sker. A pair of Shelduck flew up channel and a pair of Common Scoter and 14 Black-headed Gull flew down-channel. There were 135 Golden Plover still in the Pink Bay area some many acquiring their summer plumage.
On rocks just south of Sker there were 14 Oystercatcher, 400 Sanderling, 9 Purple Sandpiper, 9 Turnstone and a Curlew. Three Swallow flew north and there was a male Wheatear just west of the farm. The Sker area was busy with a good selection of many displaying / nesting species – Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Goldfinch and Linnet.
A walk from Rest Bay out to Sker Point and back was chilly in the strong winds and hail showers. Nevertheless it was a productive one as I ticked off my first Wheatears for the year. The 3 males and 3 females were favouring the cover of the dry stone walls at Pink Bay. Several pairs of Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Stonechat were singing / displaying. There was also a flock of approximately 250 Sanderling just south of Sker roosting with 2 Golden Plover on the rocks. Five Oystercatcher were at Rest Bay on the rising tide.
Emma and I ventured out this morning to check the two inland pools, nothing at Pwll-y-waun so moved on to Wilderness. We were greeted by a splendid Tufted Duck, we’d not had one here this winter until now. Two Chiffchaff were singing strongly and fly-catching in the north-eastern corner. All of a sudden at about 10.00 a Water Rail shot across from one of the islands into some bramble covered shoreline pursued by a Moorhen. It fed in deep cover for a while but soon disappeared from view. This was a first record for the site for us. Two drake Shoveler still remain and one of the coot pairs has begun to build a nest in good view of the eastern side path.
In the company of Ed Hunter, we grilled the Common Scoter flock of 2,000+ from Burry Holms for the recently reported probable Black Scoter (BS). 0945-1445. No sign, however it was still a most productive and enjoyable session as we picked out an immature Surf Scoter, 6 Long-tailed duck, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Fulmar and a first winter Iceland Gull. The Gull was initially feeding off the west tip of Burry Holms but soon flew to rest on the beach and was flushed north by dog walkers and not relocated. A Grey Plover flew in calling. A walk back through Llangennith Moors was quiet just 5 Mallard, 2 Stonechat, 4 Dunnock, 2 Robin and 2 Chaffinch but I just could not resist a photo of a recently born lamb!
later on to feed on the beach.
An adult Mediterranean Gull (acquiring its summer hood) was an unusual inland record at Manor Farm. Across the road at Pwll-y-waun was a female Goosander. There were 24 Sanderling at Sandy Bay, but no sign of any white-winged gulls from there along the seafront up to Lock’s Common. Rest Bay car park (still £1 to park all day) and the playing fields were again very good for gulls with 7 Mediterranean Gull (1 ad sum, 5 ad w and a 2nd w bird), 26 Common Gull and 25 Black-headed Gull. The weedy fields to the north held about 35 Skylark. A mobile Turnstone flock max 24 birds seen also contained 2 Purple Sandpiper which settled down to feed on the rocks on the rising tide. The Wilderness Pool was relatively quiet with an adult Grey Heron, a pair of Pochard, 5 Shoveler plus an impressive flock of 59 Goldfinch frequenting the alders, later joined by 3 Mistle Thrush.
High tide watch at Broughton yielded a Great Northern Diver and 2 Guillemot, a Great Crested Grebe and 200 Common Gull. A walk through Llangennith Moors produced 11 Oystercatchers in dune slack and 12 Goldfinch plus Skylark, 22 Meadow Pipit and 12 Chaffinch, mainly around a cattle feed area in a field close to the footpath. A Red Kite was soaring over the moors near Llangennith village. We accessed Rhossili beach where Diles Lake spills out on to the beach and the Common Scoter flock was something to behold, very active, quite close in and probably up to 2,000 birds between there and Burry Holms as well as 2 Red-throated Diver. There were probably more Scoter out there as the sun was not allowing us views south towards the cliffs where the Surf Scoters have been reported. Single Curlew and Kestrel were present around Broughton Farm fields as we left the caravan car park site later on.
There were 213 Black-headed Gulls with 36 Herring Gull and 3 adult winter-plumaged Mediterranean Gulls roosting at puddles in the Salt lake car park. There were 30 Turnstone, 1 Oystercatcher and a Rock Pipit on lawns at Irongate Point with another adult Med Gull nearby. The Wilderness Pool held a Little Grebe (my first record for this site), 3 Cormorant, adult and juvenile Grey Herons, 3 pairs of Shoveler, 1 Pochard, 1 drake and 4 female Goosander and finally 20 Goldfinch feeding in the alder trees. Approximately 200 Black-headed Gull flew from puddles in Manor Farm over to Pwll-y-waun Pool.
There was a Chough between the green lifeguard cabins and Sker yesterday, before being flushed by walkers up towards Sker. A couple who were nearby managed to photograph it and show me the rings on its legs, confirming for me that the juvenile female Anglesey bird is still around. There were 45 Common Gull and at least 800 Golden Plover in Sker Farm fields though I feel there may have been more than this as two microlight aircraft flew low over and the flock splintered with quite a few heading off toward the beaches and rocks of Rest Bay. Worth checking out as who knows what may be in with them?! The coastline had small numbers of waders Oystercatcher (40), Turnstone (16), Redshank (1) and Curlew (26) and a Shelduck flew over, whereas the farm cattle feeding areas held several Blackbird, Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush.