If you read my post last Thursday you will by now know of the Great White Egret which has decided to take up residence at Kenfig NNR. Our views up to that point had however been rather distant but who cares when the bird is such a good looker. In fact I hadn’t intended on going back for seconds (there’s just so many other places to visit around here) but sitting through a week of frame filling photographs eventually wore me down. As a result I was back at Kenfig on Friday morning only to find the Great White Egret silently prowling through the reeds. It was closer than I could ever have imagined, and then got a whole lot closer still! Fishing all the time it slowly worked its way towards us until it was strutting up and down directly outside the hide. I could scarcely believe what I was seeing but my photos probably tell the story better than I ever could.
In all I watched the Egret for at least an hour and after all that time it still showed no signs of leaving. In fact the only brief interludes in our viewing extravaganza were wrought by a rather territorial Grey Heron. I had speculated in my last post that an increase in Egret numbers could potentially impact the abundance of our own Grey Herons, but on this basis it seems that they’re more than ready to fight their corner. It initially flushed the Egret to the back of the reeds and out of sight before following it a short while later at which point the Egret returned to front and centre. With the Heron’s dominance restored it went it’s own way. That wasn’t the end of the drama though as a family of Coots began to swim perilously within range of that spear-like beak. At such a small size the chicks would have made an ideal meal but fortunately the Great White Egret didn’t seem at all interested. Probably stuffed full of fish already.
As before the surrounding dunes held a wide variety of species from Skylarks and Meadow Pipits through to Stonechats, Linnets, Reed Buntings and even a pair of Bullfinches. My personal favourite though has to be this Whitethroat which was more than happy to pose and sing for my benefit.
Heading deeper into the dunes meant enduring a wall of heat. For some reason I always end up doing this walk on baking hot days and almost always end up regretting it. This time though the conditions leant themselves to more butterfly hunting and without the breeze that had hampered me at Llangorse Lake I had a lot more success. Ringlets (they seem to be having a really good year), Small Heath, Meadow Brown and Gatekeepers were all on the wing, plus more of the Six-spotted Burnets which this time were proving a lot less mobile.
More intriguing was a large Fritillary which initially kept giving me the slip. Several individuals just rushed by until I finally found one sat still and having looked at the reference books I think it may be a Dark Green Fritillary. Quite a looker I’m sure you’ll agree.
The beach was much more refreshing after the stifling heat of the dunes but proved rather quiet on the bird front. Sker Point was a little more productive with the high tide roost consisting of some twenty Oystercatchers and a Whimbrel. There was also a good collection of Sea Holly along the haul road with several plants just coming into flower.
In the end though everything paled into insignificance against the might of that Great White Egret. What a stunning bird and still there by all accounts if you fancy a look yourself.