Saturday 10 July 2021


Kenfig - a stretch of the dune system with Port Talbot in the background.

Kev and I drove to Glamorgan, south Wales this morning and spent some time searching the huge dune system at Kenfig National Nature Reserve, near Bridgend. Our main target was Fen Orchid and we were successful, thanks largely to reserve warden Chris Jones. There were times when the shear number and variety of wild flowers was almost overwhelming. It is a magical place and, as usual, Kev was first to locate and put a name to the special plants of the area. 
Birds seen included a couple Sanderling and 3 Dunlin, a few presumed migrant Sand Martins and Swallows. Small numbers of Swifts were seen and the odd Cetti's Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat were in song. 

Fen Orchid - this rare orchid, found only at a couple locations (Kenfig and the Norfolk Broads) in the UK, was today's target. Its numbers have increased significantly thanks to careful management.


Sharp Rush.

Dowdy Plume Stenoptilia zophodactylus.

Burnet Rose Rosa pimpinellifolia. Kev and I saw a lot of this at Kenfig. Its bright orange rust was often the first thing that drew attention to it - see below.

Phragmidium rosae-pimpinellifolia. Thanks again to Chris Jones for the id.

Marsh Fragrant Orchid. Small numbers of this species seen this morning - one of six orchids we saw at Kenfig - Marsh Fragrant, Fen, Marsh Helleborine, Pyramidal, Southern Marsh and Early Marsh.

The main lake at Kenfig - Gmaorgan's largest natural lake. Unfortunately the Amphibious Bistort (pictured below) was a bit far out to get a proper photograph. Apparently this species is a member of the knotweed family.

 Round-leaved Wintergreen - in bud.

Round-leaved Wintergreen - in flower.

Fool's Water-cress.

Common Broomrape - this one parasitising Clover. The one below appeared to be on Sea Holly.

Ragged Robin.

Tubular Water-dropwort. And below.

The yellow is a mass of Greater Spearwort.

Dewberry - closely related to the blackberries - see fruit below. 

Pyramidal Orchid - large numbers seen throughout Kenfig's dune system.

Sea Stock - big clumps of this were found by Kev along the top of the beach. Good to see this beautiful flower after failing to find it at Braunton last year.

Lesser Water Plantain.

Six-spot Burnet - mating pair.

Southern Marsh Orchid.

Possible Southern Marsh x Marsh Fragrant?

Southern Marsh Orchid - huge numbers of these seen today.

Sea Spurge.

Yellow Loosestrife.

Southern Marsh x Early Marsh?

Marsh Helleborine - huge numbers seen along with plenty of the 'vanilla' form - see below.

Early Marsh Orchid - subsp incarnata - the first time I've seen this salmon-pink form - it's absolutely stunning. The Early Marsh Orchids seen earlier this spring, on the pebbled heaths, are of the subsp pulchella.

Early Marsh Orchid subsp coccinea - a darker, redder form and every bit as stunning as the others!

Marsh Cinquefoil. After wandering around Kenfig, Kev and I popped up the road to the village of Jersey Marine. We searched for Fen Raft Spiders along the canal but couldn't find them. Plenty of other stuff to see though...

Least Water-lily.

Flowering Rush.


  1. Some fabulous plants. I've yet to see Fen Orchid.

    1. Hi Neil - would thoroughly recommend Kenfig if you get the chance - it's an amazing site. Worth it for the Fens alone. Hope you're keeping well. All the best. Matt

  2. When I lived in Swansea, this was one of my favourite reserves. An awesome place and so diverse with fauna. Birds were pretty good too. Not sure what it's like for the latter these days though

    1. Hi Spencer - yep - it's superb. It was my first visit but I'm sure I'll return. Have to say we saw very few birds. The lake was pretty much birdless but I guess autumn/winter is the time to be there. Having said that we didn't go looking for birds as all attention was focused on the flowers. Hope you're keeping well. All the best. Matt