Worms Head Shipwreck, Samuel

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


Last month on a very windy day trip down to Worm's head on the Gower, I spent a bit of time exploring the causeway that leads from the Rhossili cliffs towards Worm's Head itself. Much to my surprise I came across a very large anchor embedded in the very fabric of the causeway. I presume that over the years the build up of silt and crushed shells has virtually turned into concrete and fixed the anchor in position as a reminder of the treacherous nature of the seas. A bit of research led me to the welcometogower.co.uk website run by the very knowledgeable Chris Elphick. The anchor originally belonged to the Samuel which went down in 1884 along with several hundred tonnes of black gold (coal). Fortunately the local lifeboat was able to rescue the entire crew whilst the cargo kept the locals in business for years. I am always fascinated when I come across historical artefact's such as these. To think that something so old has remained in position whilst over a hundred years of history has passed it by is frankly mind blowing. The stories that anchor could tell! Chris's original post and pictures can be found here. The shots below are my own.

samuel1 samuel2

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Return To WWT Llanelli

Saturday, April 25, 2009 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


This weekend I realised that it was getting on for over a month since I last visited the local WWT site at Llanelli. Given that I had been making weekly visits for the last six months or so this proved a bit of a shock so on Saturday it was time to pay a visit and see how the arrival of spring had impacted the site.

The most obvious signs of spring for me were the loss of the couple of hundred Widgeon and the arrival of several hundred very noisy and very territorial Black Headed Gulls. I was quite sad to see the Widgeon go after having seem them arrive last year and watched them develop into their full breeding plumage. There numbers had been in steady decline over my last few visits so their complete absence did not come as a major shock. Their departure has been made up for if not in beauty then certainly in volume. The islands outside the Boardwalk Hide in the center of the reserve are a favourite spot for the Gulls to build their nests and raise their young. Numbers are already nearing the three hundred mark with a good proportion already sitting on nests. I was also very pleased to see what appeared to be a few Lapwings also sitting on nests. I was not aware that these birds nested at the site and given that their population and breeding numbers have been suffering over recent years in the surrounding area this is great news. I will keep a close eye on them over the next few weeks and hope to see some young soon.

Elsewhere spring was further evident with a couple of Sand Martins arriving back and feeding over the pool in front of the Goodalls Hide. These were also joined by a small flock of Swallows. No sign of the Swifts yet but the day must be close. A good number of Chiffchaffs were heard calling around the grounds but with the leaves back on the trees gaining sightings is proving increasingly difficult. On the wader front the Black Tailed Godwits were showing in very good numbers with about 250 on the grass behind the British Steel Hide. Nestled in amongst the flock were a few Sandling and a single Dunlin. The highlight though has to be the small flock of waders in front of the Observatory. This consisted of five Redshank, three Greenshank and three Spotted Redshank in their full black summer plumage! I have never seen these three species together before so this was a real treat in terms of the ability to compare the varying features. Unfortunately I don't have pictures as it was hammering down with rain and they were too far away in any case.

Further sightings out on the reserve included Siskin, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher and a couple of Mediterranean Gulls. All in all an excellent day out and hopefully my next visit wont be quite so far away.

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Golden Eagles On Mull

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


One of the highlights of our visit to Mull were the numerous sightings of Golden Eagles that we regularly had as we traveled around the island. I was very lucky to catch this shot as an Eagle flew past along the cliffs within a few meters of us. For a size comparison the black bird attacking the Eagle is in fact a Raven. With a wingspan of some 7ft the Golden Eagle has to be one of the most impressive birds I have ever seen.

golden eagle

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