Oh we do like to be besides the seaside
A quick blog today as I am pushed for time and feeling tired. I had a great day out walking for a change in glorious sunshine, with a fresh invigorating breeze beside the seaside with my amigo and regular companion Paul Joy.
Once again we decided to visit Newton Point in Porthcawl again as it's been producing some nice results for us on the birdwatching front. After a very bust couple of weeks, I really needed some fresh sea air to clear my head and give me a boost.
We kicked off our day's birdwatching in the morning, starting at Newton Point on the lookout for roosting waders. The tide was due in today at about 2pm and we began scouring the seashore at about 10.30 am.
|The bay to the east of Newton Point|
On the eastward side of the point, we found a small flock of Turnstones, Sanderling, Dunlin and Grey Plover. It took quite a bit of effort to get reasonably close to the flock today clambering across the rocky shoreline. The rocks were slippery and there was little cover to hide our approach.
The Grey Plovers were on sentry duty and clocked us really quickly sneaking upon them. If we dared get too close they would move further down the shoreline or fly off.
|Grey Plover. They have huge eyes and can spot a birder a mile away.|
The light was good this morning although it was rather windy, resulting in our eyes constantly watering.
Eventually, we both managed to sit on the rocks and watch the wader flock from a distance. The Grey Plovers plumage looked really nice in the sunshine. I managed to get some nice pictures of one of them showing off its hairy armpits.
The flock was quite small today compared to previous visits. Turnstones were the most numerous wader. There was a few Dunlins and the odd Sanderling. I counted eight Grey Plovers.
There were a lot of people around on the beaches and on the rocks with dogs so it's likely there was just too much disturbance to allow the waders to settle down anywhere for long.
|Turnstones, Dunlins and a Sanderling.|
After the flock took flight we returned to the point and sat up in wait for a flock to return. Whilst waiting and having a chat putting the world to right we noticed a couple of small waders popping their heads up near the water's edge. After giving them a look through the big lenses we discovered they were Purple Sandpipers. Nice to see that they are still hanging around.
We then got joined by our good friend Sarah, one of the Goldcliff Gang and we had a nice catch-up.
Unfortunately, the wader flock did not return so we ended up taking a stroll to Sandy Bay and checking out the gull roost. There was a small flock of Black Headed Gulls and an immature Herring Gull.
|Mediterranean Gull? at Sandy Bay, Porthcawl.|
One of the Black Headed Gulls caused some debate about whether it was Common Gull, Kittiwake or something else. In the end, my money is on it being a first-winter immature Black Headed Gull.
However, a second bird that we had seen that I had sneaked up to when it was perched on the rocks appears to be a Mediterranean Gull.
Gulls really are a nightmare to identify.
|First winter Black Headed Gull?|
|First winter Black Headed Gull?|
|Black Headed Gull|
Sarah decided to head off so we said our goodbyes and headed back to Newton.
The only other birds to note for me were a pair of Rock Pipits near the Newton Point car park. We also bumped into a friendly group of birders including a couple who read my blog ( It was good to see you all, if you are reading - you know who you are ).
Paul and I then decided to spend the afternoon at Rest Bay, from which we were hoping to walk out to Sker Point and see more waders.
As we headed off from the Rest Bay car park a flock of what I thought was Black Headed Gulls flew over us and I grabbed a few pics of one of them as it looked a bit different. Indeed it was different - after taking a close look at the picture I took it's a Mediterranean Gull and it has a yellow ring on its right leg.
|Mediterranean Gull. Yellow ring on the right leg - AYEE|
Well, there is a bit of a story here. The ring was first thought to read AXEE but this has now been corrected to AYEE and of course, the details are for a different bird.
The ringing team got back to me - a BIG THANK YOU to Andreas who has now updated the records.]
I have put a screenshot below ( I have removed the names of people just to be on the safe side).
The Med Gull was originally from Saxony. I love the details that can be provided and it's great to be involved in contributing to the historical record of this bird's life.
|Th walk to Sker from Rest Bay|
We ended up being a little disappointed with our walk to Sker Point. Only one solitary Ringed Plover was seen! Just one after walking what felt like several miles there and back. The only highlight was a kestrel that landed on the fence bordering the Royal Porthcawl golf course.
Nevertheless, we had a lovely day out in the sunshine, got lots of fresh sea air and met up for a chat with a good friend.
- Grey Plover
- Carrion Crow
- Purple Sandpiper
- Rock Pipit
- Black Headed Gull
- Herring Gull
- Mediterranean Gull
- Lesser Black-Backed Gull
- Ringed Plover
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