Trip reports

Field Trip to Ogmore-by- Sea

Curlew standing on weed, County Cork, Ireland

Sunday, 4 February 2018

The group met up at the Portobello House car park. Being a high tide, the river was flooded across the banks, pushing the gulls and ducks to the upper reaches near the castle or down to the lower part of the river.

Our plan for the morning was to visit the foreshore for a few hours and we decided to share cars to reduce the price of parking.

A group of twelve of us moved off, pleased to leave a strong easterly wind behind. Arriving at the foreshore we were greeted by a different climate with no wind and feeling a slight warmth of the sun. We soon spotted rock pipits feeding on the rocks and seaweed. Further along, at first glance, there was a group of black-headed gulls but, in between them, a mediterranean gull, slightly larger and chunkier with no black on the wings.

We were keeping a look out for our target bird, a purple sandpiper. There was no sign amongst the rocks, though we were rewarded with a small group of turnstones, one of our distinctive small waders. Also, classic views of oystercatchers silhouetted against the sea.

Looking over the stone wall field, we spotted a lone curlew, male, out in the open. The occasional song thrush and stonechat was spotted amongst the bracken.

On our return to the river car park for lunch, the water level had dropped with shallow areas and the middle bank showing. This allowed everybody to hone their skills looking through a large group of gulls, herring, black-headed in different stages of plumage and picking out common and mediterranean gulls.

A mixed group of goldeneye came drifting down river and later on we had excellent views of them diving whilst returning back up river.

Walking beside the bank, rock pipit and pied wagtail were always one step ahead of us, two male goosanders moved into the shallow water and started vertical sky pointing; also observed were shelduck, redshank, oystercatcher and a little egret.

With a strong chilly easterly wind, it was time to call it a day.

Hugh Harrison