Tour At A Glance





Single Room Supplement:


Tour Code:

Intermediate, possible early starts necessary

Group Size:

Eight plus Leader

Red Kite Great Northern Diver Grey Wagtail Glaucous Gull Mediterranean Gull Short-eared Owl

South Wales - Secrets of The Saltmarsh

Date: 14th - 19th January 2019 [SPACES]
Leaders: Paul Roberts



Great Bittern
A winter holiday that offers excellent opportunities to encounter the many species of wildfowl and gulls that spend the winter in the usually mild climate of the South Wales coast. We will visit a wide variety of habitats including salt marsh, wooded valleys, coast and freshwater lakes. On our first afternoon we visit local upland coniferous forest in search of Northern Goshawk and Common Crossbill, though both can take some finding. Eurasian Siskin and Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers are other woodland species noted on the tour, along with the elsuive Hawfinch which we will seek in deciduous woodlands near Cardiff. Wetland habitats are the main focus of the week however, and these include the man made Eglwys Nunydd Reservoir and extensive Cardiff Bay area. Greater Scaup occur among the flocks of Tufted Ducks and Common Pochard, while Goosander and Great Crested Grebes can be present in good numbers. Kenfig NNR produces a great afternoons birding, with the chance of seeing Great Bittern, Short-eared Owl, Merlin and Peregrine, Common Chiffchaff and Blackcap, Water Rail and Cetti’s Warbler as well as an impressive evening Starling roost. The Gower peninsula is a beautiful piece of coastline and here we will visit wild open marshes and coastal woodlands as well as sheltered bays and sandy beaches. The superb Berges Island should allow us to connect with a large flock of  Dark-bellied Brent Geese and there are good counts of Slavonian Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser and Common Eider most years. Thousands of shorebirds are present including Dunlin, Sanderling, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Red Knot, Eurasian Curlew and European Oystercatchers, and large flocks of Common Shelduck and Eurasian Wigeon are also present. There is always the chance of an unusual grebe and Snow Buntings could be on the shingle ridge. At Penclawdd Pill Water Pipit is a regular, if uncommon migrant and there is the possibility of finding a wintering Common Sandpiper or Common Greenshank and one or two Spotted Redshank are also found most years. Eurasian Spoonbill has also been recorded during winter. In the late afternoon, we visit Llanrhidian Marsh, where we hope to encounter a Hen Harrier or two as they fly into roost and Green Sandpiper are often seen. Gulls are a key focus in winter and sites such as Ogmore Estuary and Blackpill are worth searching for regular Mediterranean Gull and the occasional Little Gull is also sometimes noted. Glaucous and Iceland Gull may occasionally be present and in some years a Ring-billed Gull is also noted. Laughing, Ross’s, Ivory and Bonaparte’s have also been recorded, however! Also in the Ogmore area Purple Sandpipers roost on the rocks and we will search for the Red-billed Choughs now resident in the area. Dartford Warblers are also a recent colonist, and we will search suitable habitat for the species. Finally two typical Welsh birds, the Red Kite and White-throated Dipper, should be added at suitable locations.


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