I’ll be getting my 2016 Patchwork Challenge off to a proper start this weekend so now seems as good a time as any to introduce you all to my patches. And yes I did say patches because this year I have taken the inspired (daft) decision to double up, combining my traditional haunts of Cefn Drum and Bryn-bach-Common with a new patch covering the Upper Loughor estuary. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, for all the good times I’ve had exploring the grasslands of Cefn Drum it can, for want of a better word, be a bit limited in terms of variety. Recording its changing biodiversity across the years has been fascinating but that hasn’t stopped me yearning for a wader or two, exactly the kind of birding I can expect along the Upper Loughor. Secondly I wanted to be able to spice up my evening walks a little and by having two patches bordering our village I will be able to alternate between both, one evening walking the hills whilst the next ambling alongside a tidal river. On top of that I see this new patch very much as an extension of the one I currently monitor as both sit along the same valley and can clearly be seen from one another. I feel an illustrative photograph coming on.

P1160905 - Cefn Drum

I captured this landscape a couple of months ago and it will hopefully give a better overview of how my two patches fit together. It was taken from near the top of Cefn Drum, Bryn-bach-Common on the hill opposite with the Dulais valley hidden in the steep crevasse between. Out of shot to the left sits my so-called northern spur and snaking away towards the Burry Inlet in the far distance is the Loughor. My new patch roughly encompasses the low, flat green area towards the bottom right of the image where the railway viaduct can just about be seen. Within it sits the wooded delights of Coed Bach Park, not to mention acres of marsh and tidal mudflats. Definitely an area with promise.

The OS map extract above has the area marked out in more detail and falls within the three square kilometre restriction imposed by the Patchwork Challenge. However, much of it is inaccessible other than through optics with just a single footpath snaking its way along the rivers eastern bank. With the land so flat visibility across the majority should be good though so I’m not expecting that to be too much of a hindrance. Sporadic visits in the past have already delivered such delights as hunting Short-eared Owl but beyond that this will definitely be a learning curve in terms of discovering just what’s out there. It should also put my slightly suspect wader and gull identification skills to the test, an area where I am definitely keen to learn more.

Beyond my own personal enjoyment taken from working these two patches I will also be recording all my sightings on BirdTrack. I promised to do this last year but sadly fell well short of expectations so will be making a renewed attempt this time out. Doing so will mean that they are made available to our local recorder and the yearly bird reports and, let’s face it, we all like to see our name in print.

All that’s left now is to actually get out there and see what’s about. A task easier said than done with the weather as it has been but, come rain or shine, I’ll be covering hopefully both patches this weekend.

Cefn Drum – 2015: 69 / 2016: 0

Upper Loughor 2015: 0 / 2016:0


Pod · January 9, 2016 at 7:42 am

Hi Adam word of advice take out all the inaccessable areas you can still tick stuff there cos it's viewable and add some different habitats nearby eg woods, lakes etc as variety is the key.

    Adam Tilt · January 10, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    I was tempted to do just that but felt this was a 'truer' representation of where I'll be birding.

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