A trip out to Rhossili for me this afternoon. Crossing the causeway to Worm's Head, I came across a small flock of Turnstones scuttling along the shoreline. In amongst them, were a couple of the rarer Purple Sandpipers. As usual with this species, they were pretty approachable, allowing a few shots in the (even rarer!) sunshine:
I then headed across to the tidal island of Worm's Head, where I spent a couple of hours watching and photographing the many Grey Seals drifting offshore there. Returning towards dry land, I saw at least ten Purple Sandpipers feeding with larger numbers of Turnstones. I was able to capture this shot in the last rays of the sun:
And this one after the sun had gone down (amazing the difference the sun makes to the apparant plumage colour):
I went for a walk round at Caswell Bay in late afternoon. This was the scene that greeted me:
After a stroll around in nearby Bishop's Wood, I returned to the beach as darkness fell:
I had been hoping for a nice sunset, but instead I had to make do with a few long-exposure shots of the blue dusk:
These two shots were the longest exposures of all, which allowed the nearby tungsten lights to register on the sensor, and add their own hues to the scene:
It was strangely therapeutic standing virtually alone on the sand in near darkness, with only the sounds of the waves and wind for company, and nice to have a brief respite from the constant clamour and haste of modernity!
My visit to Rhossili in my previous post was marked by grey and dreary weather, with barely a hint of sunshine, so the day was not ideal for landscape photography, to say the least. However, I did take a few snaps, which may be even more dull than my usual efforts!
Here's the view from the base of the cliffs where I was photographing the Purple Sandpipers, looking back towards Rhossili Down:
Looking towards Worm's Head:
Worm's Head again, with a barnacle-covered ship's anchor in the foreground:
A couple of shipwrecks. I'm not sure which ships they are, but I think Adam Tilt might know:
As I began walking back, the wind got up, blowing sand in horizontal streaks across the open beach:
Rhossili Down, with the Old Rectory:
The wreck of 'The Helvetia', with the small island of Burry Holms in the distance:
And the same wreck with Worm's Head as a backdrop:
Trudging up to Rhossili village, I looked back towards 'The Worm':
Finally, a shot of Rhossili Down:
Apparantly, a Snow Bunting was seen atop Rhossili Down on that day, so perhaps I should have gone up there!
I spent a couple of hours at Rhossili yesterday, Thursday 24th, looking for Purple Sandpipers. The area of rocks at the base of the cliffs on Rhossili Beach is the most reliable place for them I know of round here. Since I first saw them there in the early 2000s, I've seen anything from one or two, to a flock of over twenty birds, on my visits during the winter months. Yesterday, I could see eight birds, and managed a few photos of these quite approachable little waders, before the incoming tide drove me back:
I went out to Wernffrwd on Gower this morning, hoping to see the Isabelline Wheatear which had been gracing the area for a few days. A few people were already there; and, as I predicted last night, not one had seen it! Just as I suspected, it knew I was coming, so decided to hop-it!
After a bit of vain scanning of the area, I took a walk along the bleak marsh road, and then looked back from whence I had come, where a lone birdman was still watching in hope:
One or two Buzzards circled overhead, and a few Curlews and egrets (probably Little, although I didn't really care, and I could barely see them anyway through my steamed-up binoculars in the driving rain), along with a sprinkling of Grey Herons, quartered the marsh. As the rain began to fall, it was altogether a bleak scene. Even the hardy Gower ponies looked fed up:
I was wondering what to do with myself, when suddenly I remembered a Snow Bunting had been reported yesterday, just down the road at Crofty. Maybe it was still there.
It wasn't! (Although a flock of around 40 Brent Geese flew up from the estuary as I neared.)
Three 'dips' in two days could be a record!?
Now thoroughly soaked, I headed for home, and began to wish I'd taken up a sensible hobby.
On the other hand, there's always tomorrow, and the weather looks quite good for Saturday!
I finally had the chance for a bit of birding this afternoon - or so I thought. I went round to Mumbles, hoping to see and photograph the Rose-coloured Starling that had been showing well in someone's garden for a few days. I arrived to find several others who had been there at least an hour and a half, and hadn't seen a sign of the bird. I'm not the most patient when it comes to waiting around, and so, after 45 minutes or so of watching Goldfinches, House Sparrows, and plain old ordinary Starlings, flitting through various back gardens, I decided the bird had gone, and went for a walk along the bay. Dusk soon fell, and this strange, orange moon rose over the city:
By the time I'd got home, the moon had reverted to its normal pale shade.
I'm hoping to be able to travel to see the Isabelline Wheatear on the Gower tomorrow, so I dare say that will disappear tonight!
Whilst others were seeing Isabelline this and that, the highlight (if you can call it that) of my birding day was a dead Gannet on Blackpill Beach:
The clear blue sky soon gave way to the pinkish hues of sunset. These Asian babes (er, Oriental girls) provided some foreground interest:
Gorgeous colours over the Mumbles:
I went out again after dark, and tried this long exposure shot down at the beach. For the technically minded, this picture was a half-hour exposure at ISO 100 and f/6.3:
These star-trail shots are very much at the experimental stage for me at the moment, but I hope to get something better soon. The moon was a bit bright tonight (so bright that I could read by it whilst waiting for the exposure to complete), but clear nights here are so unusual that I had to give it a go.