The Cold Weather Continues To Bite

Saturday, January 10, 2009 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


On Saturday we headed over to Ogmore River for a walk up the estuary and the surrounding areas. Once again the weather was bitingly cold with a stiff breeze not making the conditions any more pleasant. The beach held the normal collection of Black Headed, Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls mixed in with Crows and Mallards. Just up the river past the large sandbank the first of many Ringed Plovers and Redshanks were visible feeding on the far bank. On the near bank however was the main reason for our visit, an immaculate male Goldeneye. The duck was very wary of our presence and swam off into the middle of the river but allowed some excellent photos to be taken. In all the river held thirty Goldeneyes made up from eighteen females and twelve males. A few of the males appeared to be courting with the females with similar neck movements to those used by Eiders.

An very nice surprise was a Kingfisher sat on a rock on the near shore of the river where the first island is present at low tide. I assume this is the same bird that I have seen on a number of occasions up at Ogmore Castle. As to why it was so far downstream I can only speculate that the cold weather was a factor.

Elsewhere on the river there were three Goosanders (one male and two females), a single Little Egret and a very secretive Snipe. In terms of ducks there were a large number of Mallards, mixed in with circa ten Teal and five Gadwall. The waders were well complimented by a couple of Curlew, two Dunlin and two Oystercatcher on Portobello island. Unlike previous visits the Whooper Swan appears to have vacated the area perhaps for warmer climates, and the Little Grebes were nowhere to be seen. Also of note was a large flock (approximately 155) Canada Goose just past the bridge at the sewage works.

On the way home we stopped in briefly at Kenfig NNR. The lake was still completely frozen over to a depth of several inches in places. Unsurprisingly the bird life was limited with a couple of Tufted Ducks and a single female Goldeneye. The Coots were well represented though with a flock of several hundred feeding in a field just off the shore, whilst the entire lake was surrounded by several flocks of Long Tailed Tits. No sign of the Bittern that had been sighted earlier in the week.

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