Osprey at Llanrhidian Marsh, Gower

Saturday, August 30, 2014 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


Living directly beneath a prime Osprey migration route you'd think that we'd have been simply drowning in sightings of them by now. Instead all I seem to have managed are a couple of very distant possibles from the north Gower coastline and a quite impressive list of near misses. Some of this misfortune has undoubtedly been down to my own inaction and never one to break the habit of a lifetime I've been sat in front of this computer all day despite my twitter feed informing me that another autumn Osprey has just rocked up off Llanrhidian Marsh. It was therefore with not a little scepticism that we drove across this evening, happy to catch some late summer rays if nothing else.

P1080671 - Llanrhidian Marsh, Gower

We parked up at the infamous humps and after interrogating a very smart female Wheatear for something a little rarer turned our attention towards the channel. Almost inevitably the tide was at its lowest but a scan across what little water there was soon picked up a large, dark bird patrolling back and forth. Holding the scope steady against a brisk westerly proved far from easy until the bird in question did us a great favour and landed on one of the numerous wooden posts. It only took a few moments to confirm the identification before settling back to enjoy what were easily my best views of a local Osprey to date. Even with the large distances involved I felt a record shot was necessary so top marks to the first person who can spot said bird in the photo below.

P1080673 - Osprey, Llanrhidian Marsh

Elsewhere on the marsh there was a plethora of Pied Wagtails in varying stages of plumage development plus a lone Oystercatcher on the outer hump itself, not forgetting of course the usual mix of Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Overhead good numbers of Swallows were still present whilst noisy flocks of Starling were constantly on the move when not perching on the backs of Sheep. I've yet to catch this curious behaviour on camera but it never fails to raise a smile.

A couple of miles down the road at Penclawdd yet more Starlings were roosting on overhead power cables and I couldn't resist taking a few photos as the sun caught their plumage wonderfully.

P1080670 - Starlings, Penclawdd

Penclawdd Pill itself was relatively quiet with three Little Egrets, six Redshanks and a single Common Gull being our most noteworthy sightings. It was however a couple of young Herring Gulls which drew my attention in no small part thanks to their incessant high pitched mewing calls. Of all juvenile birds these always seem the most inept and it's not uncommon to see a parent being pursued through the sky with one of these calling not far behind. Rather them than me.

P1080664 - Herring Gull, Penclawdd

It was interesting to note that construction for the new flood protection scheme here has now begun though as of yet there's not much to show other than a yard holding some impressive pile driving machinery. The ultimate aim is to build a new seawall and raise the entire car park level so it will be interesting to see how that effects the area over the next few months.One boat owner seems to be taking no chances however and looks to be ready for a substantial rise in sea levels.

P1080668 - Boat, Penclawdd

Regular readers may recognise this particular vessel as the star of many of my Penclawdd sunset photos and it was certainly impressive to see her out of the water and up close.

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