Keep on Treccoing


Ringed Plover

Earlier this month I was able spend some time at Newton Point, Porthcawl. I chose to visit early in the morning about thirty minutes before sunrise and do some "Treccoing" - watching waders as I call in this area. On that day the tide was particularly high reaching right up to the sides of the car park on the point. Fishermen were setting the rods up next to their cars as the waters were right up to the rocks.

The full moon was shining brightly up in the heavens and the moonlight was shining over the waves as they broke against the shingle of Trecco Bay. I walked along the path and scanned the shoreline. I caught glimpses of shadowy outlines of little birds scuttling across the shingle. I stopped and just sat down and listened. It was really relaxing hearing the noises of the sea, the occasional seagull calling and muffled sounds of distant fisherman in conversation. There was hardly anyone else around apart from a couple of joggers.

Then in front of me I could hear "chirping" noises not far from where I was sitting on the shingle.
The sun was beginning to rise. I could not see the sun from where I was perched on a rock next to the shingle beach but the clouds in the sky were now beginning to glow red as dawn approached.

Sunrise at Newton Point

As the light improved it revealed a flock of waders that were roosting together on the shingle.  The flock was made up of Turnstones, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderlings.The Turnstones and plovers were so well camouflaged I could barely see them until they moved. The Sanderlings however were easier to spot as their plumage was a very bold ultra bright white colour.

Juvenile Sanderling

The bold ultra-bright plumage of a Sanderling in winter plumage.

The tide was continuing to rise and as I sat patiently and quietly every now and then the flock moved closer to me as they got pushed up by the sea.

The flock was quite comfortable with my presence as long as I did not make any sudden moves or tried to advance closer to them. I had a great view of them using my telescopic camera lens.

As time moved on more waders joined the flock and they would find a spot , preen and then settle down and sleep - always with one eye on me though.

Roosting Sanderling

The flock contained quite a few juvenile birds which was good to see. The juvenile Sanderlings have a chequerboard pattern to their plumage.  I think its amazing that these birds are only really a few months old and having fledged their nest that was located somewhere in the Arctic North have undertook a long journey south to our Welsh coast.

Juvenile Sanderling

Every now and then a big wave would splash up against the shore and force the Sanderlings to scatter and they would scuttle along the shoreline with their little legs moving like clockwork toys.

Sanderling flock

As the light got better I was increasingly picking out more Turnstones. They probably have the best camouflage and if they are settled down and roosting can be incredibly difficult to spot - unless they move. Then you see their bright orange legs.


Every now and then I would suddenly see a large pebble move and realise it was a Ringed Plover that had been roosting. I like the plovers. For a small bird they have quite a lot of character. They tended to keep their distance from me but a few were less shy and were very confiding to photograph.

Ringed Plover

Eventually the flock got spooked and took flight. At Trecco Bay this inevitably happens because of people and their dogs. Sadly I am getting used to dogs running amok along the beach these days - their owners often oblivious or simply do not care that there are roosting birds sharing the beach with them.
Its very frustrating as this behaviour happens even if they see someone trying to photograph the birds and making it very obvious to them that there are some wild birds there.

The wader flocks appear to be pretty used to it and just takes flight and zoom about the bay for a while before settling somewhere else.

The flock takes flight.

I took the opportunity to stretch my legs and have a bit of a walk. Later I relocated the flock. They had settled on the last of the rocks not have been submerged on Newton Point.

I sat and watched them from the bench near the car park.

Roosting waders at Newton Point.

The roosting waders were joined by Rock Pipits which were foraging all over the point and seemed to be competing with a pair of Pied Wagtails for small insects.

Rock Pipit

Whilst sat watching the birds and enjoying the sea air I spotted a lovely patch of pink colour in amongst the rocks.  I went to investigate and found what appeared to be some form of Alpine rockery plant had established itself.

Seaside Daisy

I did some research when I got home and I suspect that the plant is named Seaside Daisy ( Erigeron glaucus). I don't think its a native species of the UK and I believe it originates in the United States.

Ringed Plover

The last bird to keep me company was a Ringed Plover that decided to perch up on a rock close to where I was admiring the flowers.

After having spent a nice couple of hours it was time for me to move on. It was good to leave the flock in peace, they had been very confiding to me - I had given them plenty of space and respect and my reward for my patience was some nice pictures and good memories that will last for a long time. 

I love a bit of "Treccoing"

Bird List
  1. Turnstone
  2. Ringed Plover
  3. Sanderling
  4. Dunlin
  5. Oystercatcher
  6. Rock Pipit
  7. Meadow Pipit
  8. Starling
  9. Cormorant
  10. Herring Gull
  11. Black Headed Gull
  12. House Sparrow
  13. Pied Wagtail


  1. Lovely blog and photos, Blair. I'm rubbish at botany so it could be Eregeron glaucus, but there are several very similar (to my eyes) members of that genus. I looked on Aderyn, the database of Welsh biodiversity records, and see that Eregron acris is well reported around that area of the coast - but not actually at Trecco Bay. I can't post a snip of the distribution here, only text, but you can look at There is a single record of E. Glaucus at Trecco, and one at Ogmore, see . Frustratingly, I can't tell if any of these records are verified. Maybe you already looked at Aderyn in your research. You could add a record to Sewbrecord as Ergeron sp. or as E glaucus if you're sure. Eventually, someone should check and verify it. Or ask a botanist.


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