Ghostly Gower Ponies of Penclawdd

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 Adam Tilt 8 Comments


Last night I needed an escape so headed down to Penclawdd on Gower after dark. Rather handily my arrival coincided perfectly with the high tide, which with no wind meant a large expanse of perfectly still water was there to be taken advantage of. Out in the darkness I could hear the calls of Curlew and Oystercatcher, but it was the squelching noises being generated by the wild ponies that call these marshes home that really caught my attention. I strained to pick out any details until I eventually spotted a reflection in one of the pools. Pointing my camera in that general direction I set up a 30 second exposure and hoped for the best.

23915 - Penclawdd After Dark

Expecting a herd of ponies to stay perfectly still for half a minute is, as you would expect, a tall order. Their movement however has helped to give them a ghostly quality which I rather like. As can be seen from the reflections, these animals are completely surrounded by water out in the Burry Inlet and will most likely stay there until the tide once again retreats.

After Penclawdd we moved on to Parc le Breos on South Gower. For the first time since the start of winter the Tawny Owls were in fine voice with at least four individuals calling out, often all at the same time. In the nearby undergrowth I could also hear various rustlings and the occasional animal noise but frustratingly there was almost zero light so I couldn't see anything. In the past I have had close encounters with both Badger and Fox at this location, with Badgers being my best guess this time. Oh how I wish I had a night vision video camera!

Other notable events from the last couple of weeks have included a fantastic flock of 14 Pink Footed Geese on the 13th. I caught up with them briefly during torrential rain in a field on the opposite side of the road from Kenfig NNR. They had a single Greylag in tow and looked well settled as they went about their business. Since then they have relocated a couple of times but last I heard they were in the fields on the east side of Kenfig pool. If they are still around this weekend I will try and find them again and get some photos given that they are such a rare species here in Glamorgan.

It's also worth mentioning the number of birds that have been visiting the feeders in the garden recently. The last few weeks have seen a massive upsurge with the Niger seed being a particular favourite. We are now regularly getting a couple of Siskins and up to five Goldfinch on it. Being at home for much of the weekend doing DIY has also meant that we now know that the occasional Long Tailed Tits we see are far more frequent and long staying than we previously realised. Top billing though has to go to our local Starlings that now number around twenty birds. On Monday last week this briefly swelled to a massive seventy plus at about half four in the afternoon. I only have a relatively small garden so it was certainly a sight to behold. My best guess is that a flock from elsewhere arrived to pick up our birds before they all moved on to the large roost in the reeds at Llangennech. I have seen similar arrivals at about the same time on a couple of occasions since, but they never stay for more than a few minutes. Good job really as they get through a hell of a lot of food!

8 comments:

  1. That's a great photo. very surreal, the colours and nature with man-made structures behind.

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  2. Thats a super shot of the ponies!

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  3. Great image makes you ponder life and long for a quiet place

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  4. Thanks guys. Glad you like the photo. Always nice to try out something different.

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  5. A cracking shot of the ponies Adam.

    That must be quite a sight, to see all those Starlings in the garden. Noisy too, I should think lol

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  6. Thanks Keith. Certainly was noisy. I was getting a bit concerned that the neighbours would complain, but they have actually been putting food out for them as well recently.

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  7. I truly surreal photo, Adam. Were you using a tripod/monopod? Such clarity of focus.

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  8. I was using a tripod Caroline with a thirty second exposure.

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