Newton Beach, Porthcawl - Sunday 21st of September 2008 
Beautiful Beach + ideal setting for Waders = A Perfect world



Sunday was the 2nd day in a glorious weekend, so we naturally gravitated to the outdoors for the day. As we had the 2 yr old with us, we thought we'd take him to the beach. And as we also would enjoy a bit of wader spotting, Newton Beach in Porthcawl was the perfect setting. It has both wide expanses of sandy beach, ideal for the toddler, and huge areas of rock pools where the waders tend to congregate. Perfect for everyone!

There were a wide variety of waders present, including but not limited to the following:

Curlews
Oystercatchers
Redshanks
Turnstones

Although there were a wide variety of birds present, we only improved upon the Curlew photos. With Mark practicing his panning on the Curlew, we may be up to chasing birds of prey someday soon :)

Curlew Curlew in Flight


~Jen



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Goldcliff Lagoons, Newport - Saturday 20th September, 2008 
Lots of Waders!


It's probably not easy to see from this image, but there were many hundreds of birds on Lagoon 3 shown in the picture above.

It was almost impossible to get any decent pictures with the sun being where it was, or even to identify many of the waders present, but we're fairly certain that that group consisted largely of Lapwings,Godwits,Dunlin and Knots.

Other sightings for the day included:

  • Herons
  • Little Egrets
  • Sparrow Hawk
  • Kestrel
  • Tree Creepers
  • Cettis Warblers
  • Chiffchaffs

Take a look at the main Birds page for large images. :)

- Mark -

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Visit to Goldcliff Lagoons, Newport 
Since we had such glorious weather all weekend long, we took full advantage of the weather on Sunday. We headed off to a new site that we hadn't gotten to explore yet, Goldcliff Lagoons - near Newport. We'd read all sorts of interesting sightings at this location on the Gwent Ornithological Society's sightings board, so that's what drew us to this location.

When we got there, we could immediately see the potential. Loads of marshy fields everywhere, in addition to the main lagoons which were overlooked by 3 main hides. We could hear various types of birds chirping and warbling in the bushes, and the waders in the lagoons were making plenty of noise as well. Here's some photos of the lagoons:

Goldcliff Lagoons Goldcliff Lagoons
Goldcliff Lagoons Goldcliff Lagoons


There were plenty of various types of water birds while were visiting. The one type of extremely numerous wader we were able to identify with our binoculars were the black-tailed godwits. Also there were plenty of little egrets about, and a few grey herons here and there. There were certainly more waders than we could easily identify, perhaps next time we'll take the spotting scope :)

There was one bird that we improved our photo on, which is the lovely little chiffchaff. We did hear a few making some "chiffchaffchiff" sounds in the bushes, along with various other warblers, which I hadn't heard since Spring. Here's the new photo:

Chiffchaff


There were also various insects of note about, including some of the biggest dragonflies I'd ever seen. They (as far as I could tell) were all exclusively Common Hawkers. A large variety of males, but not as many females about. There were also good numbers of Common Darters about as well, both sexes. Other insects of note were hoverflies, in addition to: red admiral, large white, little tortoiseshell, and small copper butterflies. Also a new moth (for us) was spotted by Mark, which has been ID'ed as a Silver Y moth. Here are a few photos of the insects we saw:

Small Copper (M) Silver Y Moth Common Hawker (M)


View all insect images taken on this trip!!


-Jen-

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Long Weekend to The Lizard in Cornwall 
We've just gotten back from a Friday-Monday break to "The Lizard" in Cornwall. We managed to dodge all the rotten weather and have a rather sunny and pleasant weekend overall. I'm going to divide the different days into catagories here, starting with the 5th of September and ending with the 8th of September.

Friday - 5th of September, 2008


This was the day we headed off to the Lizard. Weather was absolutely horrible the whole way down, localised flooding everywhere, torrential downpours, and roads closed. So needless to say we didn't really stop along the way. When we made it to the place we were staying, Parkdean Holidays - Sea Acres, the weather had not improved. So we stuck around the caravan while our son ran up and down the enclosed decking around the caravan. I recommend this park to anyone who wants fantastic views, doesn't mind a quiet site, and beach & coastal walk within walking distance. Here's the view from the coastal walk just beyond the very small 9 hole golf course, looking down at Kennack Sands.



Saturday - 6th of September, 2008


Saturday was a bit of a bonus, as the weather forecast for the day was not promising. But we spent all morning and the beginning of the afternoon out and about, only managing to get rained on once towards the end.

We started our day at Lizard Point, where we took the walk from the National Trust's car park down to the point itself. Really were some spectacular views overall, and were even lucky enough to see a few seals in the cove before they swam off. The large rocks jutting out of the ocean were covered in seagulls of various types, cormorants and oystercatchers. Here's a few images of the area, and one example of how many cormorants were covering the rocks.

Lizard Point Lizard Point
Cormorant Rock Lizard Point


We also saw various types of wildflowers, such as Wild Radish, Sea Aster, Purple Dewplant, etc. Many of these were new to me, but here's a few examples of what we saw.

Sea Campion Common Toadflax
Purple Dewplant Sea Aster


We finished the day at Mullion Cove, this is when the weather caught up with us. Lovely little cove, with some great waves and the geology is amazing along the cliffs. But unfortunately no new wildlife photos to show from this place.

Sunday - 7th of September, 2008


A glorious day in Cornwall, the sun was shining, the wind was calm, and the temperatures warm. We took full advantage of the weather we SHOULD have been having all summer, and headed off to visit various places along the cornish coastline.

We started out at Polperro Beach. This was mainly for our 2 year old to enjoy, what child can ignore a sandy beach? But this beach was different than others I'd seen, absolutely covered in polished pebbles! I'm not sure whether these are imported or naturally created, but in either case, a lovely sight. The waves were noisy and impressive along this beach. No new sightings to be added from this location however.

Next stop was the RSPB's Marazion Marsh. We didn't get to spend nearly as much time as we would've liked here, but did find quite a few things while visiting here. There were certainly birds of all types around, including the various types of tits, wheatears, heron, little egret, etc. What caught my attention certainly was the large variety of wildflowers. I captured many new types of flowers here, but I'll show a few examples here.

Corn Mint Skullcap


There were also several insects of note, including various types of bees, wasps, dragonflies, butterflies, and many other things. I only captured a few photos of these, but will only show the one here.

White-tailed Bee


And our final stop was the RSPB's Hayle Estuary. We didn't get to walk along the part furthest away from town, but we did manage to walk along the bit in the town. Walking along the road where the various garden displays are, we still saw a great variety of wildlife. Mark improved on our Curlew photo this time around - just proves the larger lens makes the difference! And we also saw a new bird (for us) which was the Knot. It was some distance away but still pretty visible even through binoculars. We did get a photo of him despite the poor lighting and distance.

Curlew Knot


There were a few flowers as well, in addition to the thousands of garden flowers lining the road. One was obviously an escapee from those gardens, Sweet Alison, but there were many other genuine wild ones. These included Sea Aster, White Campion, Purple Toadflax, Bristly Oxtongue, various types of vetch, thistle, and a bit of woody nightshade as well. Here's a few photos:

Sweet Alison White Campion


Last there were a few insects along the way. The gardens were full of various types of spiders and bees, most notably were the red-tailed bees, garden spiders, large white butterflies, and an alarming number of large white caterpillars absolutely destroying some plants.

Large White Caterpillar


Monday - 8th of September, 2008


And this was our final day in Cornwall. We headed back home in the afternoon on this day, which still remained dry. We only made one stop along the way - to the Cider Farm in Truro. Definitely a spot to stop if your kids love to see a few animals, or if you've got a taste for various types of cider and/or jam! Lots of things to buy there, and free to enter the farm - as is the cider tasting! Unfortunately we got there when the animals wanted to nap, so no new photos from this place.

View all bird images taken on this trip!

View all flower images taken on this trip!!

View all insect images taken on this trip!!

-Jen-

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Day Trip to Rest Bay Common & Newton Beach (Porthcawl) 
Well we FINALLY had a day when it wasn't raining and decided to make the most of it by taking a trip to the Porthcawl area.

Our first stop was at Rest Bay Common, a lovely spot for a walk with great sea views and a good number of birds.

Keep your eyes open for Stonechats, Linnets, Skylarks, Pipits (Meadow and Rock), Starlings as well as the ocassional wader on the rocks close to the sea.

We were happy to see a large number of Wheaters on this occasion some of which were happy to pose for their photograph :)

Wheatear (F) Redshank


In addition to all the birds to be seen at this wonderful site, we'd also seen a variety of insects there. Various flowers along the cliffs seemed to encourage both butterflies and bees alike to visit. One insect of note was seen this particular day, which was the red-tailed bumblebee. We saw both a male and a female enjoying the flowers, however only coming away with a good photo of the female.

Red-tailed Bumblebee (F)


Our next stop was Newton beach on the other side of the headland. This large beach stretches right the way across to Ogmore-by-Sea and offers a delightful mix of Sandy Beach, Rock Pools and Sand Dunes.

Follow the rocks away from the crowds and you can nearly always find Oystercatchers, Curlews, Redshank, Turnstones, Ringed Plovers and a variety of Seagulls.

Oystercatcher Turnstones Ringed Plover

View all bird images taken on this trip!

- Mark -


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