On Friday afternoon, I felt the need to escape, but the rain was pouring down, so where could I go? I decided to pay a visit to the new hide at Oxwich Marsh on the Gower Peninsula. At least I'd be dry, even I didn't see anything!
Here was the view from the hide:
There were very few birds about: just a handful of Teal, almost hidden over the far side of the pond; a male Shoveler, which flew off after a few minutes; a fly-past Grey Heron, which my camera failed to lock on to; and a couple of Little Grebes, of which this was one:
I had heard that a female Hen Harrier had been around recently, which was the main reason for my visit. At one stage, as I was at the other end of the hide to my camera, I looked up only to see the said Hen Harrier quartering the reeds opposite the hide. I hurried back to my camera (there was no-one else there), but the bird had by now disappeared. Fortunately, it reappeared after five minutes, and I was able to take a few shots as it flew past at some distance. This is the only one where the bird is not facing away from the camera, although it's quite a big crop:
After this, the rain became a constant downpour, and I didn't see the harrier again in the remaining two hours I was there.
The weather was a lot brighter on Sunday, today, so I decided to head down there again. Before entering the hide, I took this shot looking across the dunes to Oxwich Bay:
Here was the view looking out from the right-hand side of the hide:
There seemed to be even fewer birds around than there were on Friday, although there were one or two almost-hidden Snipe on the small island just in front of the hide, and this drake Teal which came out into the open for a while:
Another Teal flew down to the left of the hide, and I was able to get this silhouetted shot as it floated on the sunlit water:
A small family group of Mute Swans were on the lake. Here are three of them:
I think reeds are stunning plants, and took a few shots of them whilst waiting for any birds to arrive:
Finally, about 4.30 p.m., a female Hen Harrier appeared from behind some distant trees, and I managed just this one shot of her (which is cropped to about fifty percent of the original frame):
About a half-hour later, I spotted the distant form of the beautiful, pale-grey, male Hen Harrier, circling over some trees. I managed a few shots, but they are so distant as not to be worth posting. Just before I left, I saw him roosting in the low branches of a distant tree.
There was just time for a couple of photos of the low-angled evening sunshine lighting the dunes:
and one more looking into the sunset:
before heading off.
I suppose there are worse places to live than Swansea!