I went for a meander through the dunes at Kenfig Nature Reserve on a dull, early autumn day, about half an hours drive outside of Cardiff, to see if I could spot any migrating birds making their journeys north or south as we near the end of summer. But also just as an excuse to explore the dunes, stretch my legs and see what wildlife had to say.
We got there in the middle of the day and spotted a handful of birds out and about – a kestrel (I think!) hovering in the distance above the dunes, flitting from one spot to the next. There were also juvenile goldfinch scurrying between the bushes and trees scattered amongst the dunes. Once I’d reached the beach a couple of stonechats vanished from the patch into the undergrowth – I obviously had to be quick to get the camera out if I was gonna snap any of these birds today!
The beach is just lovely to walk along, I had the dog in tow and it was a great place to take her without feeling I was bothering birders as there was so much space to avoid the hides/best place to spot birds. There was a mix of gulls on the beach, mainly Herring and Lesser Black Backed gulls and juveniles, but I also happened to spot a couple of Oystercatchers making their way carefully across the beach in front of the lapping waves.
You could hear them chattering to each other (probably about my dog!) and dipping their beaks in the wet sand looking for things to eat. I’ve not yet seen these since beginning to properly look for birds so it was a real treat for me.
Other notable appearances included a fox moth caterpillar which was making it’s slow way across the grass, and a small heath butterfly, which was so small – well named I guess! There were plenty of other butterflies making the most of the last summer flowers before autumn really kicks in, the dunes seemed to still be full of wildflower in bloom.