I have just been processing my backlog of photos and came across a nice selection from the beach at Mumbles Pier taken around the middle of October. It was if I remember correctly the last properly hot day of the year with a clear blue sky and no wind whatsoever. My parents were down visiting so I thought I would take the opportunity to show my dad (a keen bird photographer) my favourite place on Gower for watching Turnstones. As always they put on a fantastic show allowing both my dad and I to get some very nice shots. The flock was spread out across the whole foreshore starting at the pier and heading out to the land past the lighthouse. It was hard to estimate numbers but at least forty sounds like a reasonable figure.
Those of you that read my blog regularly will probably have seen my report from last time I visited this beach which involved copious numbers of Starfish and some very hungry Herring Gulls. This visit was no different with the rapidly retreating tide leaving hundreds of the helpless creatures littering the beaches.
We saw many of the Gulls pick up an easy meal though devouring it was a lot harder given the constant competition and mobbing that was taking place. Fortunately on just one occasion an immature Gull landed within range of my camera. The picture below shows one very satisfied looking bird. You’ll notice that the Starfish is attempting to keep itself rigid, presumably as a means of defense. This seems to prove relatively effective but eventually the Gulls find an angle at which they can wolf them down in one go.
Other birds seen on the day included eight Common Scoter flying past Mumbles lighthouse from the direction of Swansea Bay. I know a large flock gathers off Aberavon Beach at this time of year so that is a likely starting point for these particular birds. A solitary Mediterranean Gull was a nice flyby while a brief scan of Blackpill delivered three Grey Plover, four more Turnstones, over a hundred Oystercatcher, twenty plus Dunlin, five Curlew, two Shellduck and a solitary Bar Tailed Godwit.