Sunday, February 27, 2011


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!


  1. Caught your blog from a twitter post from Wildlife Photo Blogs. Glad I came by! nice blog and photographic work. I look forward to coming back!

  2. Great serie of wonderfull images, my best is the little grebe ;)

  3. So pleased you caught the Hen Harrier on camera. These are great photos. I have tried to answer your Pembrey hide question here ... sense of direction is not my strongest point though (esp. when in the company of someone - David - who knows where he is going!).

  4. Whoops - sorry, the first link - to hide directions - should be here . . .

  5. Some very nice images Jeremy. We were at the hide on Saturday afternoon on the look out for the Hen Harrier but just missed it apparently. It sounds like the evening is probably the best time to see them. Potentially a great location for photography over the coming months.

  6. Great series!! I'm glad to know that we aren't the only ones with cabin fever. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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