An early morning text from Mark Hipkin alerted me to a male Mandarin Duck on the small lake at Margam Park and a female Common Scoter on Eglwys Nunydd reservoir and as I'd already decided to take a stroll up on to Mynydd Margam to have a look for a wintering Great Grey Shrike I thought that I would call in and try and photograph the ducks on my way home.
I called in at my daughter's and picked up "Harry" her King Charles Cavalier spaniel who I knew would enjoy the walk and soon we were both up on Mynydd Margam looking across the vast vista towards Bridgend and Porthcawl with Kenfig Pool in the distance.
There were plenty of Goldcrests,Siskins,a few Lesser Redpoll and good numbers of the more common birds on the walk up and on the summit with a couple of parties of Common Crossbill also flying over.
Alas the felled area which has hosted a GG Shrike in recent years is now covered with 3-4m high conifers and despite a good search there was not a shrike to be found.
There are several new felled areas on the mountain which may be more appealing to a GG Shrike so a bit of legwork is going to be the order of the day on my next visit.
I made my way back down to Hafod Farm and then on to Margam Park where the male Mandarin certainly brightened up an otherwise gloomy day and although favouring the far side of the lake I managed to get a few shots.I next popped across to Eglwys Nunydd and bumped into George Morgan who confirmed that he had been unable to find the Common Scoter and after reading some later postings on the GBC sightings page it sounded like it had relocated to Kenfig Pool.
I had a scan but also was unable to find the bird and with wildfowl numbers building steadily for the winter I soon picked up the flock of two dozen plus Goldeneye which although remaining a little distant were easy to photograph in the still conditions. I headed for home mid afternoon cutting up over Mynydd Ty Talwyn and Llangynwyd where winter thrushes seemed to be everywhere including good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing feeding on the glut of hawthorn berries and just got home in time to watch the Blues get hammered by Ulster,yet another depressing game after the debacle of Friday night !! What I was really hoping for this weekend was brilliant sunshine and an influx of photogenic Waxwings into Glamorgan,not to be I'm afraid,but then there's always next weekend.................