A great location for excellent birdwatching whatever the season
START YOUR VISIT at Ogmore Castle. Close by, a magnificent set of stepping stones, themselves scheduled as an Ancient Monument, offer a crossing place over the narrow river. The whole estuary, which extends seawards for about 1.5 miles, is narrow, so birds are always reasonably close to the observer. A series of footpaths provide access to Merthyr-mawr National Nature, aptly described as a plant paradise, with Marsh Helleborine, two species of Marsh Orchids, Autumn Lady’s-tresses and the rare Birthwort. The birds include Stonechat, Yellowhammer and Linnet, while, with patience and good fortune, you may see a Dartford Warbler. I always work downstream and with the tide low, giving maximum opportunities for gulls and waders to be present. However, if parked near the castle, follow the footpath upstream the short distance towards the ancient earthworks at Verville. Here, large flock of gulls should always be carefully scrutinised, while waders can include wintering Snipe and Green Sandpipers. Shelduck, which breed in the dunes, are joined by wintering Goldeneye, Goosander and Little Grebes, while one of the joys of any visit is the sight of a Kingfisher. Do not let Rock Pipits pass without checking, as Water Pipits on the saltings have delighted careful observers in the past. There are usually Turnstones, and occasionally Purple Sandpipers, on the rocky shores for you to enjoy, too.