Tour At A Glance

Cost:

599.00

Deposit:

100.00

Single Room Supplement:

75.00

Tour Code:

Fairly relaxed

Group Size:

Fourteen plus Leaders

Grayling Little-ringed Plover Small Blue High Brown Fritillary Bee Orchids

South Wales - Summer Wildlife

Date: 27th - 30th June 2019 [SPACES]
Leaders: Paul Roberts

Itinerary

 

DAY ONE

Arrive Porthcawl by 12.00. Once everyone has checked in, we take an afternoon excursion to nearby Castle-upon Alun, one of the best butterfly sites in Wales. Here we hope to find fritillaries on the wing: Small Pearl-bordered should be at its peak, and we will keep our fingers crossed for Dark Green and the rare High Brown at its only regular site in Wales, although we are early in the flight period for the latter two species. Common breeding birds could include Great Spotted Woodpecker, Meadow Pipit and Bullfinch, with Spotted Flycatcher possible. Botanically the site is unusual, being an example of limestone heath; both acid-loving plants such as Lousewort and Cross-leaved Heath grow cheek by jowl with lime-lovers including Rock-rose and Horseshoe Vetch. Our next stop will be the  adjacent Ogmore Down, part of the same limestone heath complex, where Dartford Warblers will be our target – the cold winters of 2009 and 2010 have seen this species numbers plummet in the area, but with a few pairs still present, it is hoped that they will recover quickly. Other birds that may be present here include Yellowhammer, Lesser Whitethroat, Stonechat, Peregrine and Common Raven. If time permits, we will take a walk on the seafront or at nearby Cwm Nash to search for Red-billed Chough which inhabit this stretch of coastline, but they can be elusive at this time of year and we will also make time for a visit to the River Ewenny at Ogmore Castle to look for both Banded and Beautiful Demoiselle.

Overnight Atlantic Hotel

 

DAY TWO

The morning is spent in the environs of Kenfig National Nature Reserve, where a whole host of wildlife awaits. The reed-fringed freshwater pool is home to breeding Reed Bunting, Cetti’s, Reed and Sedge Warblers and Common Whitethroat and Willow Warblers abound in the scrub. In recent years, a small population of Red-veined Darter has bred here and we hope that this species will be present. Likewise, Lesser Emperor dragonflies are being recorded annually, while Emperor, Broad-bodied Chaser and Common Darter are common here. Butterflies should include Wall and Meadow Browns, Small Heath, Small Blue and Dingy Skipper among others, though it is late in the flight period for one or two of these. It is however for its flora that the site has national nature reserve status and principally for the 90% of the British population of Fen Orchids and your visit is timed to coincide with the initial flowering period of this now very rare plant. You will need to walk out to the coast for this species and other orchids that may be blooming there include Pyramidal which is often present in large numbers, while Bee Orchid sometimes flower in the car park where we take our picnic lunch. Whilst at the coast, we will also scan offshore for Harbour Porpoise, which are fairly common in these waters and possibly Sandwich Terns and Common Scoter, which are often present offshore during the summer months despite not breeding anywhere in the region. In the afternoon, we drive to the picturesque Neath Valley, where we will scan for birds of prey from a public car park. Our principal target here is the elusive Eurasian Honey Buzzard, of which a few pairs breed, but we could also encounter Common Buzzard, Red Kite, Eurasian Hobby, Common Kestrel and Eurasian Sparrowhawk. Other species might include Grey Wagtail, Grey Heron, House Martin, Common Swift and Goosander.

Overnight Atlantic Hotel

 

DAY THREE

We head west today to the Gower Peninsula, justifiably famous for its diverse landscape and wealth of wildlife. Around its coast, there are spectacular beaches, dunes and limestone cliffs and caves. Inland, acidic heaths and commons predominate, with ash woodlands in steep limestone valleys and arable farms contributing to the richness of the area. The Gower was Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is designated as an Important Plant Area by Plantlife International. Our first port of call is the common land, where we hope to encounter Marsh Fritillary at one of its remaining strongholds.  The rest of the day will be spent exploring the south coast, home to rare plants such as Yellow Whitlowgrass, Sea Stock, Hoary Rock-rose and Goldilocks Aster. Not surprisingly, given the rich flora, a good range of butterflies can be seen including Brown Argus and Small Blue. Finally, if time permits, we will make a stop at the gorgeous Rhossilli Bay, where a scan out to sea towards Worms Head may produce a few passing Manx Shearwater, Northern Gannet and auks from the seabird colony and possibly Red-billed Chough, Dartford Warbler, Linnet and Stonechat and Harbour Porpoise.

Overnight Atlantic Hotel

 

DAY FOUR

We head inland to the old opencast site at Llanilid. Although partly under development, the site still holds a wide variety of wildlife reflecting the diverse habitats that have arisen following the cessation of mining. Breeding waders in recent years have been Little Ringed Plovers, Ringed Plovers and Northern Lapwing. The site has a very healthy population of Sky Larks, with Little Grebe, Green Woodpecker, Lesser Redpoll, Linnet and various warbler species representative of the avifauna. The pools here support numerous dragonflies including Four-spotted Chaser, Keeled Skimmer and Black-tailed Skimmer. Open flowery habitats, where Bee Orchids can occur, support a range of butterflies, notably Dingy Skipper and Small Blue. Should we find that access is restricted due to further development, we will visit a nearby Sessile oak wood to search for Common Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler among others. Later on a walk along the banks of the River Ely will allow us views of a Sand Martin colony and hopefully family parties of Dippers as well as other common birds and butterflies. We conclude at midday to allow for the onward journey home.

 

**Please note that the weather is essential in our success in seeing butterflies and odonata, and we may have to introduce a more bird-related itinerary in the event of poor weather. These two tours, while operating a similar itinerary, will expect slightly different species, and this will depend on the year too, so please contact us if you are booking with a particular target in mind.**
 

 

Additional Information

 

WHAT’S INCLUDED
Three nights dinner, bed and breakfast in en suite rooms at The Atlantic Hotel, Porthcawl, services of leader, lunches, minibus transport throughout and entrance fees.

NOT INCLUDED
Transport to and from Bridgend or Porthcawl, travel insurance, drinks and any items of a purely personal nature.
 

 

Tour Reports

 

2010a  2010b  2013  2013b    2014

 

Testimonials

 

" We learned a lot, saw some lovely wildlife with a bonanza of buzzards, dancing dolphins and performing peregrines. The Honey Buzzards being mobbed by the Peregrine was particularly special. All in all a great wildlife trip and we all thank you very much for putting together such a fantastic tour for us with such an interesting range of species and habitats" West Chiltern U3A group.
 
"Superb leader, birds, flowers, insects and scenery - just what was promised. I'm a huge fan of Oriole Birdings South Wales trips" W D Herefordshire
 
" An excellent few days with superb guides who were very knowledgeable and good company.  P M Amersham
 
" It was an excellent tour  helped by great weather and a first rate leader. The Atlantic Hotel was extremely comfortable and the staff friendly and helpful" G F Kent
 
"Paul is a very good leader and we all got on fine. The Hotel could not be bettered, the staff were always helpful and the meals great.Of course the weather played its bit,to make a trip never to be forgotten. Highlight for me [besides the food and wine] High Brown Fritillary closely followed by the Fen Orchid. Thanks to you all" A F Kent
 
 "It was a great trip and I'm sure we'll be back. Please lay on the same weather next time!!"
K & D H Manchester
 
" Paul was excellent and had superb knbowledge of the area and its wildlife " J W Preston

 

Back