Tour At A Glance





Single Room Supplement:


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: Returning in 2021
Leaders: Paul Roberts



Red-veined Darter

This excellent itinerary focuses on general wildlife in the under-watched region of South Wales. Our first destination at Old Castle Down is perhsaps the best butterfly sites in Wales. Here we hope to find fritillaries on the wing including the rare High Brown at its only regular site in Wales. 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 an adjacent area of heath, where Dartford Warblers can occur. Other birds that may be present here include Lesser Whitethroat, Peregrine and Common Raven. If time permits, we will take a walk on the seafront on the Vale of Glamorgan to search for Red-billed Chough, which inhabit this stretch of coastline, but they can be elusive at this time of year. We will also make time for a visit to the River Ewenny at Ogmore Castle to look for both Banded and Beautiful Demoiselle. Kenfig National Nature Reserve includes the reed-fringed freshwater pool home to breeding Cetti’s, Reed and Sedge Warblers and Common Whitethroat while 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, Dark Green Fritillary, Small Blue and Dingy Skipper, among others. It is, however, for its flora that the site has national nature reserve status, most importantly the only extant UK population of the dune form of Fen Orchid. 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. The picturesque Neath Valley offers the chance to find the elusive European Honey-buzzard, although the population has declined recently, but we could also encounter Northern Goshawk, Common Buzzard, Red Kite, Eurasian Hobby and European Sparrowhawk. The Gower Peninsula is justifiably famous for its diverse landscape and wealth of wildlife. Our first port of call could produce 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 Whitlow-grass, Sea Stock, Hoary Rock-rose and Goldilocks Aster. Finally, the former opencast site at Llanilid holds a wide variety of wildlife. Breeding waders in recent years have included Little Ringed Plovers while the pools here support numerous damselflies and dragonflies, including Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly, Keeled Skimmer and Black-tailed Skimmer.



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