The joys of a good chat along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast

Male Stonechat

I must admit on Saturday I wanted to stay in bed and listen to my body telling me to rest. For the last week I had been trying to fight off a bout of man-flu. However I had to travel to Cardiff  and would need to wait around all day so I thought getting some fresh air may stave off the flu and at least help me breath better. I planned on visiting a few locations along the Glamorgan Heritage Coastline.  I felt as rough as a dead dog  and was not feeling in the best of spirits but my good friend Paul Joy came along to keep me company and true to his name he brought some joyful conversation and laughter along with him.

I was hoping to see Choughs, Stonechats and Peregrines. Anything else would be a bonus.

We started off at somewhere new to me Aberthaw Power Station. Paul knew the area well having fished off the coast there for years and also scouted it out for wildlife.

The location is quite eye striking as you have got the big power station dominating the skyline to your left and then coastline stretching off into the distance. Along the coast is a good patch of coastal scrub land. There were a tremendous amount of wildflowers which regrettably my knowledge is severely lacking so can't tell you what they were (Note to self next time I visit take flower pics and bring a identification book).  As we surveyed the area we soon noticed big flocks of House Sparrows and Linnets. Swooping low over the ground were Sand Martins, Swifts, Swallows and House Martins.

It was difficult to pin the Linnets down for photographs as they kept getting disturbed by people walking dogs. I am believer to some extent of "live and let live" when it comes to the countryside and it should be a place for everyone to enjoy but part of me really gets annoyed at times when dogs keep running amok especially when I have made some effort to get close to a bird. Dog owners saw us from a good distance doing our thing with the camera. They don't need to be a genius to work out what we are trying to do and could give us some respect and control their dogs a little.

One species I was surprised to see were Yellowhammers. They seemed to like the arable crop fields adjoining the scrub land but getting to perch still proved impossible. My highlight of this location was probably seeing some Greenfinches. I did a scan of the coastline and picked up Oystercatchers, a Curlew and Lesser Black Backed Gulls.


Moving on we headed for Nashpoint. Heading up onto the clifftops we caught sight of a pair of Fulmars perched on the cliff face. On the cliff edges Rock Pipits were almost common place. Their cousins the Meadow Pipits were also showing well feeding along a dry stone wall and perching on bales of hay in a field adjoining the cliff path.

Rock Pipit

Overall though it was quiet and after Paul bought me a fab ice-cream (yes he really does look after me lol) it was time to try somewhere else.

One of my favourite places to visit for birdwatching has been Dunraven Bay , Southerndown. It is very picturesque and always attracts lots of wildlife. Many years ago I used to have a family day out their and when I got a chance would walk the footpath leading up from the beach and watch the Stonechats that were always there.

On this visit Paul and I walked the clifftops first from the Ogmore side and strolled towards the general direction of Dunraven.

It wasn't long before we saw our first Chough. It was mixed in initially with some Carrion Crows which caused some confusion.

Moments later hurtling across the sky like a fighter jet streaked a Peregrine Falcon (identified later by our friend Simon Bedford to be a male).



The falcon wheeled in the air and swept past us quite closely. Magnificent.

I then showed Paul where I used to watch the Stonechats and sure to my word they put in a grand appearance perching on the tops of thistle flowers that were in abundance.

Male Stonechat

Female Stonechat

We then started to retrace our steps. Looking down into the sea we caught sight of a Grey Seal. Its the first time I have seen one in this location.

Grey Seal

I then noticed something watching me from the edge of a cliff. I crept up closely and found I was being observed my a pair of Choughs.

The pair were quite accommodating and allowed us to follow them for a while always keeping at a respectful distance. Choughs I think are really majestic crows and are my favourite Corvid species.

Chough watching us from the cliffside

The pair of Choughs.

How shall I summarise the day then. On the upside we had quite a respectable bird count, got some nice pictures of our target species - Choughs ( tick), a Peregrine (tick) , Stonechats (tick) had a great day out with good company.On the downside and I had lost my voice and was heading to bed - man-flu had struck me down at last.


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