Kenfig National Nature Reserve
Tel: 01656 743386
Fax: As above
Kenfig is a Glamorgan birding hotspot with a wide variety of birds to see at any time of the year. Most birders gravitate
towards Kenfig Pool which is a short walk from the car parks and has two bird hides to allow comfortable viewing. The
freshwater lake is fringed with reedbed and willow scrub on the north, west and southern sides while the eastern shore is
open due to horse and cattle grazing on the eastern fields.
A walk along this open shoreline can be good for seeing migrant wading birds such as dunlin, ringed plover, little ringed plover, little stint, common sandpiper, greenshank and black-tailed godwit. However, the shore is regularly disturbed by walkers and waders do not often linger so it is wise to walk this route early in the morning. There are four stiles to negotiate along the east shore.
The walk round the rest of the pool leads through willow scrub, reedbed and dunes. During the winter this route floods and wellington boots are essential. During particularly wet years, some sections remain flooded until late summer. You may expect to see several species of warbler on this path during the spring and summer seasons including blackcap, willow warbler, whitethroat, chiffchaff, reed warbler, sedge warbler ,Cetti's warbler, lesser whitethroat and grasshopper warbler.
From either of the bird hides you will gain good views over Kenfig Pool and some of its reedbeds. Winter is the best time to look out over the water as there will be good numbers of water birds including mallard, pochard, tufted duck, goldeneye, teal, wigeon, gadwall, great crested grebe, mute swan, Canada goose and cormorant. A patient look over the reedbeds could be rewarded with views of bittern in flight or if you are lucky you may even see one hunting in one of the cuttings near the hides. These can also be good places to see water rail and kingfisher.
Sker Beach also known as Kenfig Sands is about a mile's walk from the car park. It stretches for over two miles from Sker Point to the mouth of the River Kenfig. The sands are a good place to see waders such as dunlin, sanderling, turnstone oystercatcher, grey plover, golden plover and ringed plover. The rocky mussel beds near Sker occasionally have purple sandpipers when the tide is out. To see seabirds the winds need to be strong from the south-west. In the summer manx shearwaters can be seen in large numbers and Arctic skua and storm petrel are seen some years. In December red-throated divers can often be seen feeding just off the mussel beds and Sker Point.
Sker Point and Sker Farm are good places to look for migrants and wheatears are present from spring to autumn. The old farm buildings and stone walls around Sker House occasionally have little owls but they are very difficult to pick out. The farm fields often have a large flock of golden plover and 20 or so curlew during the winter. In the spring good numbers of whimbrel with the occasional bar-tailed godwit stop off on their journey from West Africa to their northern breeding grounds. They often feed on the fairways of the Royal Porthcawl and Pyle and Kenfig Golf Courses.
The open dunes and slacks are more challenging places to find birds, especially in the winter but there are usually meadow pipits and stonechats and the occasional merlin, hen harrier or short-eared owl. In the summer whitethroats, skylarks, meadow pipits and willow warblers are very numerous.
Kenfig has a well deserved reputation for turning up rare birds and some choice photographs are shown in the rareity gallery at the bottom of the page.
Check recent sightings or report your own records by clicking on to the link below. This will include records from all over Glamorgan but there are frequent reports from Kenfig.
Glamorgan Bird Club sightings
Juvenile ringed plover on eastern shore of Kenfig Pool
Mediterranean gull on Kenfig Pool at the south pool beach. It is always worth checking the fenceposts for rare gulls
Dunlin feeding at the Kenfig rivermouth
Little stint on eastern shore of Kenfig Pool
Green sandpiper in front of southern 'Arthur Morgan' hide
Sedge warblers breed in low scrub near Kenfig Pool
A Grey phalarope driven inland by a storm on Kenfig Pool 7 1 08
|Disclaimer||Bridgend County Borough Council|