Trip reports

Field trip to Kenfig Nature Reserve - Sunday May 11th

Sedge warbler perched on phragmites
rspb images

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Considering the weather did not look promising leading up to our walk around Kenfig Pool and beyond, we were pleasantly surprised how dry the half day trip remained. The only thing we did have to contend with was the blustery conditions. As we arrived at the car park, there was a welcome sight of a Whitethroat. We were able to identify this warbler's call first. Very pleasing, the bird sat up for us nicely so we could admire it visually as well. Shortly into our walk a Cetti's Warbler called. This is resident bird which has a distinctive call, normally heard but not seen. Kenfig Nature Reserve is well known for the different orchids. We did not expect many types of orchids as this was the middle of Spring. We saw two species which included an Early Purple Orchid. We entered one of the two hides which are situated around the Pool. The number of birds in the Pool were far and few between. A feature was the number of Swifts, which is an African migrant, well known for its piercing scream. The day was overcast in parts, which meant the insects flew lower, so the Swifts were seen feeding closer to the water. Canada Geese and Mallards were the only wildfowl of note. Lesser-black backed gulls were around. A lone Sand Martin made an appearance. In the hide we heard the sound of nestlings. We briefly tried to locate where the sounds were coming from. A Blue Tit was about outside the hide. This may have been one of the parent birds.
A lovely surprise of not one but two willow leaves laden with several hairy caterpillars. Further research suggests they are caterpillars of the Buff Breasted Moth. We saw them luckily before they dropped to the ground to find a location to pupate.
We did our best to cross the dunes but we did have a battle with the windy conditions. We were hopeful of maybe Wheatears or other interesting summer migrants. We did see Willow Warblers. As they look similar to Chiffchaff, we were helped greatly with their melodic rippling phrase.
We crossed fields which contained sheep and young lambs, as we made our way to the second hide. There were good angles of looking over the pool, and seeing the waves whipping up, due to the continued blustery conditions.
In the hide bird life was sparse. We identified several curlews flying high over the pool towards the beach. There were reports of a Garganey from the hide over the previous days. Unfortunately this migrant duck may have moved on, or hidden in the surrounding reed beds. A Sedge Warbler called, which has a scratchy sound interspersed with whistles.
We headed off along the road side back to the car park. Swallows were flying quite close to us.
We had an enjoyable trip, with a few surprises along the way.

Craig Watson