Warblers at Kenfig NNR

Saturday, May 16, 2009 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


Kenfig NNR is a pretty special place, occupying a huge area of sand dunes right next to the massive steel works of Port Talbot. It has also been the best place to see Warblers over the last couple of weeks, so I decided to head on down to see what I could see. It is worth saying at this point that I do not have a great history with warblers. Until last year I simply referred to them by that age old birders saying 'LBJ' (Little Brown Job'). Not this time though. I had armed myself with the necessary knowledge to pick out key differences and hopefully bag myself a few new lifers.

Things were off to a good start at the car park with decent numbers of Swift and Swallows flying over towards the lake. Shortly afterwards I found my first ever Lesser Whitethroat in the shrubs just behind the visitor center, along with several singing Common Whitethroats. Having the two species in close proximity certainly aided the identifications. I am also fairly certain that these birds are breeding in the area so its worth keeping your eyes open for fledglings over the coming weeks. Also in this area were several Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Chiffchaffs and my first Spotted Flycatcher of the year. The Flycatcher was very obliging, sitting on a branch in full view of the footpath. Unfortunately it was just a bit too far away for me to get a decent picture on my camera. The prospect of an SLR with a massive lens is getting more and more appealing with each trip out.

The other main highlight of the trip though was a single Spoonbill that we observed flying over the lake towards the Sker Point area. The bird was first recorded at the site during an introduction to bird watching walk the day before, and spent all day at the reserve. Not a bad bird to find if you are trying to get people interested in the subject. Elsewhere around the lake were several Linnets, House Martins, Skylark and even a White Wagtail. As per usual on my visits there were no waders present. I think this has something to do with the number of people that visit the site. I'll have to get up much earlier next time I think. Spring was also in evidence with four young each for a pair of Mute Swans and Canada Geese.

And what about those warblers? Well apart from the Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs, my only other success came in the form of a couple of Willow Warblers before rain forced the end of play. Better luck next time.

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