Following the less than impressive week off in September, I was hoping for a slightly better return from my October week off. I have been fortunate enough to have seen a few top notch mega's at the end of previous Octobers, but as the week started, I wasn't feeling too confident.
We decided on a trip out on the first day of the week to get the week off to a good start. There wasn't an awful lot about, but a KENTISH PLOVER in South Wales that had been present over the weekend did catch our attention.
We had a leisurely walk around Westport and then headed off down the M5/M50 to Swansea. The directions told us to walk through the University campus. However upon our arrival, we discovered that the university campus was still being built, and it was a huge building site. In the end we asked a returning fisherman how to get onto the beach, and he showed us a gap in the fence. We then walked across some disused ex-industrial site and finally came to the beach. Our next obstacle was to climb over the huge boulders put in on the edge of the beach. We were absolutely certain we'd come in the correct way.
The beach with the University campus in the background and the flood defences middle top of photo that we had to climb over
Eventually we were walking on the beach and checking through the small Ringed Plover flocks. There were two other birders on the beach and we slowly made our way towards them. The tide was coming in, and the waders were slowly bunching together on the banks of the river. The wind was whipping up and the conditions weren't pleasant, but with all Ringed Plovers sat facing us, it was easy to slowly check each one. As I was scanning, I was suddenly aware of bits hitting me. CJW informed me it was sand being blown at me. It then dawned on me it was raining. There we were in the middle of a beach, with a strong wind whipping up the sand and then it started pelting down. Just at this moment, I found the Kentish Plover at the front of the flock. I passed my scope over to CJW but conditions worsened, the flock was flushed and we retreated to the dunes for some sort of shelter.
The shower soon passed, and we returned to find the Ringed Plovers again. Fortunately they all gathered in virtually the same area as before. And I soon found the pale Plover again. The problem was it was asleep, and it took a bit of persuading the local birders that it was the Kentish. Until it woke up that was.
Initial views. Stood out as pale and the only juvenile on the beach. It was still called a Sanderling by one tho
The large crowd slowly increased in size. And a nice bunch they were. They welcomed the odd visitors from Stoke and even showed us the right way to get back to the car.
The 3rd Kentish Plover for Glamorgan and a bit of a Welsh mega