Tour At A Glance

Cost:

649.00

Deposit:

100.00

Single Room Supplement:

100.00

Tour Code:

Intermediate, possible early start necessary

Group Size:

Eight plus Leader

Brambling Black Redstart Siberian Chiffchaff Water Pipit Merlin

South Wales - Late Migrants & Winter Windfowl

Date: Tour not currenly running
Leaders: Neil Donaghy or Paul Roberts

Itinerary

 

DAY ONE

Arrive at the Atlantic Hotel, Porthcawl for 14.00. Your guide will meet you for an informal chat about the holiday before we move an area of upland forest for species such as Common Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Siskin, Coal Tit, Common Crossbill, and with luck, Northern Goshawk. As lunch is not included today, please ensure you make provision for this before we depart.

 

DAY TWO

We spend the morning at Kenfig Pool, where a whole host of species should be present. Overhead migration usually produces good numbers of Sky Larks, Meadow Pipits, Chaffinches, Eurasian Siskins, Wood Pigeons, Western Jackdaws and Fieldfares and Redwings. Amongst these, smaller numbers of Lesser Redpoll and Brambling are regular and species such as Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Eurasian Bullfinch are also noted. At this time, the scrub is full of common migrants arriving from the continent and we should encounter good numbers of Blackbird, Song Thrush, Common Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Blackcap, Coal Tit, European Robin and Dunnock. Firecrest is a regular migrant in small numbers and Yellow-browed Warbler is recorded most years. Resident species include Reed Buntings, Common Stonechat and Cetti’s Warblers. On the pool itself, numbers of Tufted Duck, Common Pochard, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Northern Shoveler and Gadwall will be increasing and a few Great Crested and Little Grebes and Common Goldeneye will be arriving for the winter.  Scarcer wildfowl such as Whooper Swans drop in from time to time, Black and Red-necked and Slavonian Grebes are occasional visitors, as is Great Northern Diver. Great Bitterns will have arrived by now and can often be seen in flight around the reed beds. Water Rails are at their most visible and the gull flocks often hold Mediterranean and occasionally Yellow-legged and Little Gulls. Both Common and Jack Snipe are regularly recorded. The chance of rare species arriving should not be overlooked as Penduline Tit, Royal Tern, Ring-necked Duck, White Stork and Siberian Chiffchaff have been recorded in this period. The afternoon is spent at nearby Sker. The walk out to the point should produce common migrants such as Common Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Common Stonechat and Linnets. In the fields around Sker Farm Northern Lapwings and European Golden Plovers should be present, along with Common Starlings, Pied Wagtails, Sky Larks, Meadow Pipits and mixed flocks of corvids and gulls. Red Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit may also be present. On the seafront, shorebirds include Sanderling, Eurasian Curlew, Ringed Plover, Ruddy Turnstone and European Oystercatcher – sometimes in large numbers. Rock Pipit is often recorded and Snow Bunting is near annual in recent years, while raptors including Peregrine, Merlin and Common Kestrel regularly patrol the area. Shorebirds that occur in smaller numbers include Grey Plover, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin and Common Redshank. Offshore, European Shag and small numbers of and Red-throated Diver and Common Scoter could well be present, while Laughing and Sabine’s Gulls have both been recorded during this period.

 

DAY THREE

An early start is necessary, if we are to make the most of our time. Our first stop will be at Mewslade Valley on South Gower. This beautiful site is very reminiscent of a Cornish valley and has only been regularly watched in recent years. The upper valley consists of gardens and scrub and ploughed fields, whilst the lower valley leads down to the sea and is surrounded by rocky outcrops and sparse vegetation. Common species should include Yellowhammer, Goldfinch and overhead migrants such as Meadow Pipit, Sky Lark, Wood Pigeons, Western Jackdaws and Common Starlings, while there is a good chance of Red-billed Chough here. Good numbers of Blackbirds, European Robins, Goldcrests and Dunnocks are usually present and double figure counts of Red-billed Chough have been noted. Black Redstart, Ring Ouzel, Wood Lark, Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warbler have occurred each autumn that we have been watching the site and rarer species have included Little Bunting and Pallas’s Warbler. We move to Rhossilli for more overhead migration and also to check the sea for returning Red-throated and Great Northern Divers, Common Scoter and auks. If time permits, we will also check Oxwich Bay for shorebirds, gulls and migrant warblers before we move back towards our base, making a stop to scan from Mumbles Head. This site should hold small numbers of divers and auks and Bracelet Bay often has good numbers of Mediterranean Gulls. Little Auk and Velvet and Surf Scoter have been recorded recently.

 

DAY FOUR

Following breakfast, we drive to sites around the Ogmore Estuary. Small numbers of common wildfowl should be present on The Watermill Flood. This is also a good site for Stock Dove, Eurasian Jay and Little Egret, while Red-necked Phalarope and Glossy Ibis have also been recorded in recent years. We also stop at Candleston where large numbers of winter thrushes are normally present and where Grey Wagtail and Dipper can be found on the river. Large flocks of gulls are present on the estuary with regular Mediterranean Gull and shorebirds should include Ruddy Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper, Northern Lapwing, Common Redshank and European Oystercatcher. Snow Bunting, Firecrest and Ring Ouzel are occasionally recorded in the general area, there is a small flock of resident, but mobile, Red-billed Chough and Black Redstart is regularly recorded. We check the coastal farms for Grey Partridge and Yellowhammers and we should also encounter Sky Larks, Northern Lapwings and with luck Peregrine, Merlin and Little Owl.  Recent uncommon migrants found in this area this have included Richard’s Pipit, Common Hoopoe, Yellow-browed Warbler and Lapland Bunting.

 

DAY FIVE

We spend today on the North Gower marshes. The exact sites to be visited will depend upon tide times, but will feature Llanrhidian Marsh, Penclawdd and either Whiteford NNR or Salthouse Point. Shorebirds will be much in evidence as vast flocks of European Oystercatchers, Red Knot and Eurasian Curlew arrive for the winter. Good numbers of Black-tailed Godwit should also be present and a few Grey Plover, Dunlin and Common Redshank are usually found amongst them. Pectoral, Buff-breasted and White-rumped Sandpipers have all been recorded in recent years. Little Egret numbers continue to grow year on year and among the large numbers of wildfowl present we will encounter Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Common Eider, Common Shelduck and Common Teal. Water Pipit is a scarce but regular visitor, whilst Common and Green Sandpipers, Spotted Redshank and Common Greenshank occur in small numbers. It is a favourite area for raptors with regular sightings of Peregrine, Common Buzzard, Merlin, Common Kestrel, Hen Harrier and Barn and Short-eared Owls. We may also see Slavonian Grebe, Great Northern Diver, Jack Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock and Common Crossbill, depending on where we go. Recent rare or uncommon birds here include Shore Lark, Isabelline Wheatear and Bluethroat. We return to the hotel a little later than usual to allow time for owls to show.

 

DAY SIX

We spend the remainder of the tour catching with any species we may have missed before concluding the tour at approximately midday to allow time for the onward journey home.

 

Additional Information

 

WHATS INCLUDED
Five nights dinner, bed and breakfast in en suite accommodation, ground transport in South Wales, packed lunches, services of guides, reserve entrance fees and welcome drink.

NOT INCLUDED
Transport to/ from Wales, travel insurance, drinks and any items of a purely personal nature.

 

 

Tour Reports

 

1998  2003  2004  2008  2011  2013

 

Testimonials

 

“Excellent guide and birding.” D & P. P. Missouri.
 
“I really enjoyed the fact that all day was spent birding and that the company was so good” S. B. Carshalton
 
 " The holiday was much enjoyed with lots of interest and some lovely walks. I particularly enjoyed and appreciated seeing difficult species such as Water Pipit and Crossbill through the scope which the leader was only too willing to share. The hotel had a friendly atmosphere and the food was great " B M Sussex
 
" Dear Neil, we felt we must send you a large "Thank-You" for our marvellous Welsh holiday. We have both come away with wonderful memories and a great list of things seen and enjoyed. We did appreciate all your help and guidence - and the sandwiches!!!! I'm sure we will be coming again once we get our ideas sorted out regarding dates and where our priorities lie. Our group trip tomorrow will be through several of the Greenwich Borough Council parks - from the sublime to the - well - not so sublime!! Again our thanks for a really happy time - with all best wishes.  V S & S C London
 

 

 

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