Birding the Gower – 21/ii/15

My Dad picked me up from Swansea shortly after dawn, and we headed out onto the Gower for a day of birding. The first good bird of the day was a Red Kite over Pengwern Common as we drove by.

We arrived at Whitford point a short while later, and headed down the track towards the hide. A Little Egret and a couple of Teal where on the fields which had been flooded by the exceptionally high tide. A Snipe flushed from the marsh, and nearby were a few Reed Buntings amongst various other common species. A Treecreeper and several Goldcrests were in Cwm Ivy woods also.

Reaching the hide, good numbers of shorebirds were in evidence. Waders included approximately 20 Grey Plover, with similar numbers of Redshank and Curlew. There were several hundred Dunlin present, with several Sanderling and Ringed Plover mixed in. Oystercatchers were present in good numbers too, but the most notable species here were the (Dark-Bellied) Brent Geese, with more than 300 present. Many birds remained distant on the see, but a fairly large group were feeding on the shore below the sand dunes, allowing for good scope views.

The sand dunes provided a good seawatching vantage point, and over the course of the next hour or so we managed some good birds. There were quite a few Red-Breasted Merganser, with a minimum of six counted. A single winter plumage Red-Throated Diver was seen distantly, and a single 1st-year male Eider was seen. Also on the sea were good numbers of Great Crested Grebes, and plenty of gulls. It was also nice to see a few Skylarks along the beach, including several singing birds.P1240893 Ced

The next stop was Rhossili, where a short walk produced Rock Pipit, Raven, Linnet, Kestrel and the target species; Chough. Five birds showed very well on the clifftops as they fed actively at fairly close range.P1240916 CedP1240929 Ced

Another quick stop at Overton produced little other than a Sparrowhawk and a couple of Pheasant. Unfortunately there was no sign of the Woodlark which have wintered in the area.

We finished the day at Oxwich. There were good numbers of Common Scoter in the bay, though they were quite distant. We also picked out a Red-Throated Diver and there were a few Great Crested Grebe there too. The marsh held a few Gadwall, Moorhen and Little Grebe, and it was nice to get good views of several Shoveler there. We finished with a total of 70 species, and it had been an enjoyable day out.

On a different note, I have recently subscribed to Birdguides and am finding it a very handy birding tool. Excellent value for money!bg2

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