Upcoming field trip

Next Sunday, 26th Sep, there’s a field trip to Aberthaw, W of Barry  & Rhoose. We’ll have a wander round the area known as The Leys, west of the power station, then walk around the walkway that fronts the buildings, to East Aberthaw, to explore the area around the  pool there. If anyone is interested we could visit Rhoose afterwards to have a wander round the pools there. We start at West Aberthaw/Gileston as the parking for E Aberthaw is very limited, unless you use the carpark of the Blue Anchor pub but that is a very popular venue at the moment. Below is a map showing the access to W Aberthaw beach car park. Basically, travelling W on the B4265 you turn left at the St Athan crossroads, signposted Gileston, making sure you do a right at the minor T junction. Take care when entering the parking area – it is pretty bumpy [rocky] and pot-holed. I suggest meeting there at 9:30 a.m. Please email me to book a place – johndw1948 at gmail dot com.
Full details of current terms & conditions re field trips are on the Field trips events page here, including ref to our voluntary £1 per head green offset donation per our Climate Emergency Policy.

KNNR/Sker – GBC monthly walk

Successful monthly walk at KNNR this morning with 16 participants and Dave Carrington leading. We walked straight out to Sker Farm and watched ‘Strinda’s’ Hoopoe for a while, then walked to Sker Pt, watched a bit from there and then walked back through the dunes via the ‘yellow’ path. A total of 40 species were logged. Highlights – the Hoopoe obviously, several Wheatear, a Marsh Harrier that flew E past Sker Farm, a fly over male Yellow Wagtail, 2 AdW Med Gulls and what was probably a Common Tern in a group of gulls offshore at Sker Pt, Stonechats, Skylarks, a light passage of Swallows….. John Wilson. Full list here:https://drive.google.com/…/1a4w4786y7L4tpZwBWbV…/view…

Sker Farm

Managed to find a ‘window’ to drive down to KNNR and walk out to Sker Farm to see the Hoopoe found by GBC trustee Strinda Davies. It performed pretty well in the field it is currently calling home, finding plenty of what looked like black caterpillars to feed on. At one point it was irritated by the sudden arrival of a Wheatear and raised its crest and spread its wings.

August 2021

Highlights: A Garganey was at Lisvane Reservoir (23 rd ). A Balearic Shearwater
and a Storm Petrel were off Lavernock (6 th ), with two Storm Petrels noted from
Porthcawl. Two Great White Egrets were briefly at Kenfig. Tir Founder Fields
hosted a Little Egret. The most noteworthy raptor sighting was of a Honey
Buzzard over Penrhiwceiber, Mountain Ash. An Osprey moved south west over
Llwyn Onn Reservoir. Marsh Harriers were observed at Southerndown, Kenfig
and Rumney Great Wharf. Hobbies were recorded at Kenfig, Sully Brook and
Cwm Mawr. Wood Sandpipers stopped off at Ogmore Estuary and Llanilid. A
flock of 11 Black-tailed Godwits flew east at Dunraven. Green Sandpipers were
at Lisvane Reservoir, Llanilid, Llanharry and Kenfig, where four Little Ringed
Plovers, a Ruff, two Black-tailed Godwits and a Greenshank were also logged.
Newton, Porthcawl, hosted a Ruff and a Little Ringed Plover among the regulars.
A Greenshank flew past Lavernock. Two Sandwich Terns were off Sker and two
Arctic Terns were in Cardiff Bay. Tree Pipit passage peaked at 78 through
Lavernock (23 rd ), while a gathering of up to 100 Yellow Wagtails lingered at
Southerndown. A juvenile Black Redstart at Llwyn Onn Reservoir was an
intriguing record, possibly indicating local breeding. Whinchats were seen at
Kenfig, Cosmeston, Sully Brook and Pant Mari Flanders, Ogmore. Pied
Flycatchers called in at Cardiff Bay, Lisvane Reservoir, Lavernock and
Cosmeston (two).
Summary by Paul Roberts


In our garden this afteroon, a feeding flock of tits containing many Long-tailed Tits, the trees at the bottom of the garden were alive with birds, and a couple of Willow Warblers were with them. One settled by our garden wall long enough for me to grab a couple of photos, plus a couple of an accompanying Long-tailed Tit. The odd one out is a House Martin in a still active nest at Penarth Marina.

Cosmeston 26th Aug

During a 1 hr walk round highlights were 2 Spotted Flycatchers in the fenced off area at the far end of E paddock, and a Garden Warbler there plus a couple of Willow Warblers and a few Chiffchaff and 1 Green Woodpecker. In the ‘snipe area’ of W paddock there were 4 Common Whitethroats, another Willow Warbler and more Chiffies, and a Sparrowhawk flew over Cogan Wood. The prev day there had been a Whinchat by Sully Brook just outside Cogan Wood per Graham Smith but I didn’t check for it today.

Cosmeston a.m.

A little activity around the W paddock area, with a Spotted Flycatcher just beyond the dragonfly pond and a Bullfinch there and a juvenile Common Whitethroat. There was also a juv Common Whitethroat in bushes in the ‘snipe paddock’. Around 20-30 Sand Martins were chittering away high above W paddock and even higher still 3 Buzzards thermalled, one almost disappearing into the high mist that hung over the place.
Today there were three council officers walking around the car park checking every car to see if it had a paid for parking ticket or a permit. There’s plenty of signage now so there’s no excuse. It was good to learn that according to one of the park employees, all monies taken from parking will go to the park’s budget, and the same applies to the charges now being levied at Porthkerry.

Pembrey old dock and Kidwelly Quay

A good trip was had by 15 members of GBC. At the old dock at Pembrey we were welcomed by a Sparrowhawk chasing 3 Linnets around the sky. There was a mixed flock of about 50 LInnet & Greenfinch feeding in the grass across the inlet there, with 3-4 imm Stonechats in the same area. 4 fem/imm Wheatear were on the inner beach. Offshore a couple of Gannets flew back & forth and occasionally dived and there were 3 Gt Crested Grebes. A long way off in the Burry inlet a line of about 40 Eider [all with the typical blackish immature plumage] were sitting on a sand bar. Not everyone was convinced by these distant dark blobs but to experienced eyes they were undoubtedly Eider! On the near beach were a number of Sandwich Terns some of which occasionally went on a feeding foray, and there were a number of Oystercatcher, 3 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin. At Kidwelly on a not particularly high rising tide we had several Whimbrel, c.100 Curlew, around 7 Greenshank upstream beyond the ‘busy’ railway bridge which is currently under reconstruction, and some Redshank, plus 100’s of Oycs farther out. Little Egrets were numerous – the closest resting group numbered 22. We also had a possible Great White Egret but it was a very distant shimmering blob in the heat haze. The structure looked right tho’. A Peregrine circled purposefully for a while but didn’t stoop. Roughly 40 species were seen. Official list to be compiled.


Fem Wheatear W paddock Cosmeston briefly this morning but flew off high SW. Spot Fly far LH corner of W paddock – 1 of poss 3 seen by Graham Smith. Also Graham had 1 brief Pied Fly in fenced off area very far end of E paddock.

[Now added Wheatear pix, plus Holly Blue and fem Common Darter]

Cosmeston 14th Aug

A juv Little Grebe was quite active and vocal, constantly badgering its parent for food, although it could dive itself [see the ‘bedraggled’ image]. In E paddock I had a very brief encounter with a female Pied Flycatcher, which I took to be a chaffinch when it flew past my peripheral vision, due to the white wing flashes, but then it settled in a tree in the ‘ditch’ briefly. I managed a distant shot which I’ve cropped a little, but then it flew off towards the golf course. Green Woodpeckers are evident almost daily. Graham Smith had 3 Spot Flys, a Garden Warbler and a Ring-necked Parakeet somewhere by W paddock. Non-bird highlight was the attractive Pyrausta purpuralis moth and a Common Carder Bee.

Upcoming trip & walk

There’s a trip to Kidwelly and Burry Port on Weds 18th Aug. High tide is around 2 p.m.. Please let me know by email if you would like to attend so I have an idea of numbers [johndw1948 at gmail dot com]. At present I think we shd still stick to our own transport as there’s no clear guidance on people sharing cars, although if one can travel on public transport [one assumes including taxis] with a mask then sharing car in the same manner could be argued to be no different. In any event in this case our usual meet point in N. Cardiff is in the wrong direction for me. At present I am inclined to suggest meeting at Burry Port first, at say 10 a.m. so that we have Kidwelly at its best on an incoming tide later. Otherwise meeting at Kidwelly at 10 would give us a long time around there before the tide became favourable. Below is a map showing the access to the Burry Port [old harbour] parking area. I note that just east of Burry Port town there’s a location called Ashpits Pond and Pwll Lagoon Nature Reserve. Does anyome know amnything about that?

Also there’s the standard KNNR monthly walk on Sat 21st Aug meeting at the KNNR centre at 9 a.m. Just turn up for that.

Porthcawl, a.m.

From observations this morning (per Alan Rosney): a steady stream of Manx Shearwaters. Also 1 Storm Petrel, 1 Med Gull, 2 Common Terns, 2 Gannets, 1 Kittiwake and several Fulmars. Also a glimpse of a passing wader that might have been a Phalarope.

July 2021

Highlights: A Common Scoter turned up inland at Lisvane Reservoir, while three were noted on the sea off Sker. Little Egrets were at Ogmore Estuary (two) and Cadoxton rivermouth. Hobbies were noted in Cardiff and at Hendre Lake, St Mellons. A Wood Sandpiper called in at Llanilid. Nine Green Sandpipers were present on the River Ely, with others at Ogmore Estuary, Llanharry and Llanilid. Two Black-tailed Godwits stopped off at Ogmore Estuary. A Black Redstart was visiting a Treorchy garden, with another seen at the regular location of Aberthaw Power Station. A flock of up to 100 Mistle Thrushes was observed at Heol-y-Cyw. Choughs bred successfully on the Heritage Coast, with a family party of seven (five young) ranging around.
Summary by Paul Roberts

Cosmeston 27th Jul

A quick walk round and on entering E paddock I immediately heard some very agitated and loud yaffling from 1 poss 2 Green Woodpeckers. I scanned around and found two on a tree trunk in the wooded area behind the play park. I crept across the paddock and eventually got close enough [they’re normally very nervous], to get some nice cropped stills and I took a couple of video clips using the Sony RX10 IV at max zoom. The birds were an adult male [on the right – red in its ‘moustache’] and a stripey and flecked immature. There’s a link below to a vid clip on Youtube.

Here’s the Youtube link – just click to go to the vid and then play it. Best to choose full screen option. https://youtu.be/ne9d9eK1Eak


Pretty quiet bird-wise at the moment due mainly to the heat. A group of 9-10 Tufted Ducks have been around for a few days – a sign of autumn – returning non-breeders probably. The half grown Gt Crested Grebes on W lake are pretty vocal but never very close. Had an obliging juv Blackbird in Cogan Wood 2 days ago and a Song Thrush outside. The bird in the tree is a young Blackcap which was v difficult to get a picture of.