A great lo­ca­tion for ex­cel­lent bird­watch­ing what­ever the sea­son

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - DAVID SAUN­DERS

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.

Mediter­ranean Gull

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