Tour At A Glance

Cost:

749.00

Deposit:

100.00

Single Room Supplement:

100.00

Tour Code:

Intermediate, possible early starts necessary

Group Size:

Eight plus Leader

Great Crested Grebe Common Cuckoo Dartford Warbler Red-billed Choughs Wood Warbler

South Wales - Birdsong & Spring Migration

Date: 29th April - 5th May 2018 [SPACES]
Leaders: Neil Donaghy or Paul Roberts

Itinerary

 

DAY ONE

Arrive and check in at the Atlantic Hotel, Porthcawl in readiness for a 14.00 departure. Please note that lunch is not included today, so please make sure you have something before we leave. We will then make a short excursion to Candleston Bridge to look for Dipper, Grey Wagtail and perhaps Common Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker and Stock Dove. Migrants such as Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff and Sand Martin are also present.

 

DAY TWO

An early start is a must, if we are to make the most of the superb reserve at Kenfig. A good-sized reed bed and large areas of scrub on the western side, and grassland and shoreline on the east, fringe the large freshwater pool. The whole reserve is surrounded by a large dune system that extends to thirteen hundred acres in all. Our early start is necessary, if we are to stand our best chance of experiencing the incredible sound of singing male Grasshopper Warblers. Given good weather conditions, several birds may be present at this time of year and with a little patience, it is usually possible to get good views of this skulking species as it reels away inside the low scrub, moving ever closer to the edge and finally out into the open. Spring sees the reserve alive with the song of many other summer migrants. Reed and Sedge Warbler are present in good numbers, as are Common Whitethroat and Blackcap, and on some days it seems as though there are Willow Warblers singing from every bush. Smaller numbers of Common Redstart, Lesser Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatchers pass through, but not on a daily basis. Scarcer migrants that are seen most years around the pool are Garganey, Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Hobby, Black-necked Grebe and Black Tern. On the pool itself, Great Crested Grebes should still be displaying their remarkable courtship routines and occasionally a Little Grebe will appear from the reeds. Water Rails breed and can sometimes be noted as they scramble around, calling loudly. Small numbers of shorebirds use the margins of the pool before the inevitable crowds disturb them later in the day. Regular species include Common Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Whimbrel with fewer records of Little Ringed Plover, Common Greenshank and Bar-tailed Godwit.  Hirundine and Common Swift passage can be very heavy and resident species include Reed Bunting, Cetti’s Warbler, Common Stonechat and Linnet. The chance of rare birds arriving should not be overlooked, as spring rarities in recent years have included Black-winged Stilt, White-winged Black and Whiskered Terns, Woodchat Shrike, Greater Short-toed Lark, Ferruginous and Ring-necked Ducks, Common Hoopoe, Black Kite, Montagu’s Harrier, Golden Oriole and Purple Heron. Several orchid species should also be in bloom and the first dragonflies and butterflies are on the wing. After breakfast back at the hotel, we walk to Sker Point. This isolated farm and adjacent beach is a good place to watch for Sandwich, Common and Arctic Terns with the odd Arctic Skua also possible. We also hope to see European Shag, one or two of, which are usually present all year round, and maybe Common Eider. Shorebirds should be present on the beach including Whimbrel, European Oystercatcher, Ruddy Turnstone and Sanderling; one of the latest to leave the area for its northern breeding grounds. Common Kestrel breed and Peregrine, Little Owl and Common Raven are often noted. Northern Wheatear, Whinchat and Yellow Wagtail are regular migrants around the farm and the occasional spring rarity has been noted such as Melodious Warbler, Dotterel, Stone Curlew, Osprey and Roseate Tern. The reed bed at the Kenfig Rivermouth, which although quite a walk can often be productive, and we will spend time here before returning leisurely to the hotel in the late afternoon. Rare birds that have been recorded here include Little Bittern, Woodchat Shrike, Great White Egret, Purple Heron, Kentish Plover and Bearded Tit, though the area is seriously under-watched and anything could turn up.

 

DAYS THREE & FOUR

On these days, we head westwards to the beautiful Gower Peninsula, though we may not visit on consecutive days.  We will spend some time watching the sea at various points, which should produce good numbers of Razorbills and Common Guillemots from the nearby colony at Worms Head, while other common species include Black-legged Kittiwake, Northern Fulmar, European Shag, Northern Gannet and Manx Shearwater, and with a little good fortune, we may also encounter a squadron of Pomarine Skuas passing up the channel, but it is more likely that we will encounter Arctic or Great Skua and Sandwich, Arctic, Common and perhaps Little Terns may also be present, as well as Harbour Porpoise and Atlantic Grey Seals and there is always the chance of picking up one or two Red-billed Chough or Dartford Warbler that frequent the area as well as common migrants.  We will visit a raptor watch point in one afternoon, where we will hope to encounter European Honey Buzzard which if present can give superb views here. Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Peregrine and Red Kite are regularly recorded and occasional Osprey, Northern Goshawk and Eurasian Hobby are seen, as well as Grey Heron, Goosander, Common Kingfisher, Common Sandpiper and Dipper.

 

DAY FIVE

We take a one hour journey to the new reserve at Goldcliff Pill on the Severn Estuary. This excellent wetland has only been established since 1999 and has already attracted wide attention due to the presence of several rare shorebirds seen in spring including Black-winged Pratincole, Temminck’s Stint and Hudsonian Whimbrel on more than one occasion. Passage migrants should include Barn Swallow, Yellow Wagtail and Northern Wheatear, whilst a good selection of commoner shorebirds such as Dunlin, Common Greenshank, Whimbrel, Little Ringed Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit should be on show, while Pied Avocet breeds at its only site in Wales. Little Egret is a regular visitor and Eurasian Spoonbill has been recorded more than once. We spend the afternoon a little further down the estuary at Uskmouth, where we hope to see Bearded Tit, Cetti’s, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Common Cuckoo and other migrant passerines and shorebirds, as well as Eurasian Hobby and Marsh Harrier, both of which regularly pass through the area.

 

DAY SIX

We spend much of the day away from the coast with visits to nearby woodlands. Here, we can take a gentle stroll through the sessile oak woods for breeding summer migrants including Wood Warbler, Common Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Tree Pipit and Garden Warbler, while Sky Lark, Common Treecreeper, Common Nuthatch, Green, Great Spotted and perhaps even Lesser Spotted Woodpecker may also be noted.

 

DAY SEVEN

Following checkout at the hotel, we will visit a site where we hope to encounter Little Ringed Plover as well as a nice variety of common woodland species and other wildlife. We conclude the tour at approximately 13.00 to allow time for the onward journey home.

 

Additional Information

 

WHATS INCLUDED
Six nights en suite accommodation on dinner, bed and breakfast basis, packed lunches, ground transport, services of guides and reserve entrance fees.  
 
NOT INCLUDED
Transport to/ from Wales, travel insurance, drinks and all items of a purely personal nature.

 

Tour Reports

 

APRIL 1999a  APRIL 1999b  MAY 1999  APRIL 2000  MAY 2000  MARCH-APRIL 2000  APRIL 2002  MAY 2002  MAY 2003

 

APRIL 2005  APRIL 2006a   APRIL 2006b  MAY 2010  MAY 2011  MAY 2012  MAY 2013   APRIL 2014    MAY 2015    MAY 2016

 

MAY 2017

 

Testimonials

 

“We enjoyed our tour very much indeed and were particularly pleased with the range of species and habitats seen and the knowledge of the leader” K & N. H. Kent.
 
“I really, really enjoyed the tour - it rejuvinated and reinvigorated me. I’m hooked again on bird tours and it’s all your fault!! I might also add that Neil's packed lunches are the best in the business. Loved it, loved it, loved it. My second visit brought back wonderful memories of all the places I love and some news ones, and of course such good birds again!!” W. D. Hereford.
 
“I enjoyed the small group, the leaders expertise, super hotel and birds.” T. S. Oxfordshire.
 
“A thoroughly enjoyable and informative experience.” P. J. & H. H. Cambridge.
 
“A thoroughly enjoyable break, which was fun as well as informative.” L & J. M. Glamorgan.
 
 “We would like to thank you for an interesting and enjoyable weekend. We may have seen some of the species before but had been unable to identify them. Thank you once again for a lovely weekend” M & D. P. York.
 
“Just a little note after our return from a greatly enjoyed three days with you. Thank you for your super guiding of our birding journeys and for your memorable example of sensitivity to the birds. The skill and commitment of the guide, the quality of the accommodation and the smooth running of the programme made this an exciting and rewarding tour. Don’t be surprised if you hear from us again.” R & A. M. Nottingham.
 
“Just a quick note of thanks for such an excellent birding weekend.” S. M. Bristol.
 
“We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend. We had three very different days both weather wise and bird wise and greatly appreciated your time, effort and tuition. Once again thank you very much.” C. B. and S. J. Oxfordshire.
 
“A fantastic trip, great weather, great birds and great company. The wealth of birds and habitats in South Wales was a total revelation. I was particularly impressed by guide’s knowledge of weather conditions and migration. Thanks for a superb four days.” D. S. Manchester.
 
“The accommodation was excellent and we found it to be a very pleasurable experience – we would definitely go again. We had a great time, but particularly enjoyed the dolphins, seals and seabirds, the Manx Shearwaters at Porthcawl, the walk at Kenfig, the Tree Sparrows and Pied Flycatchers, but especially the raptor identification features being explained while we were watching them; Thank You!”
M & L. W. Hampshire
 
“Thank you so much for your patience as well as your expertise – I was most impressed. I look forward to another experience in the future” V. N. Lincolnshire
 
"I really enjoyed seeing the birds which I cannot see at home such as Red-biled Chough and Dartford Warbler. I would recommend Oriole Birding as the holiday was good value and Paul was exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful" E R Hereford.
 
" Hi Neil - We would just like to say thank you again for all the hard work you put into tour.  We both enjoyed it very much and got a lot out of it.  A & K W Hampshire
 
" I have had a brilliant birding holiday - thank you very much indeed. I don't know what I expected, well birds of course, but everything was interesting and good value for money.  I loved seeing the countryside, the walks by the rivers/streams, the smell of the marsh and the scramble over the rocks to see the Gannets.  Being able to use your scope gave me such incredible views of the birds, that these will last forever. The Bearded Tit, The Goldcrest, Siskin, Honey Buzzard and Wood Warbler, great sights and I could go on and on" A. M. Birmingham
 
" thanks very much for a great few days - both Sarah and I enjoyed it very much!!" S C  Sussex
 
" thank you very much for a super week Neil. I really enjoyed the variety of habitats that we visited, enabling us to see a mixture of birds, as well as the small group" S T Sussex
 
" We had a great time and had some great looks at some great birds - we really learned a lot and you took us to some memorable places. We look forward to travelling with Oriole Birding again" E & M J Seattle

 

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