It has been just over a month since my last entry on this blog and for that I apologise. I had not intended to take such a long absence but other commitments were slowly building (mainly DIY and work related), and I just felt the need to concentrate on other things for a while. After such a brilliant few weeks of birding I was also nearing the point of being ‘birded out’ so to speak. As a result I have spent the last month just generally enjoying myself and catching up on other activities. I also spent a week fossil hunting around the beaches of Lyme Regis which proved to be immensely successful. I returned with a car that was considerably heavier than when I left with a boot full of various Ammonites, Belemnites and other assorted goodies which have rather handily allowed me to completely fill one of my spare rooms. As a means of decoration it was far cheaper and more unique than anything you could ever hope to buy in a shop. I will put a post up at some point showing some of my best finds along with a few bird stories including another lifer and the ticking of one of my bogey birds.
So where did I leave off? Those early days of October seem so long ago now as we rush head first into November and say goodbye to autumn. After a series of blustery days most of the leaves are now on the floor and the mornings are often frosty. Waking up to see the mist hanging over the Loughor estuary is certainly a nice perk however. The birds have also sensed the changing of the seasons and have started their winter migrations accordingly, whether that be leaving or arriving on our shores. I had one of my best ever demonstrations of this at Worms Head on Gower after work, something which unfortunately will now no longer be possible due to the clocks going back an hour and the nights coming ever earlier. As I walked along the top of the cliffs I came across a group of five Wheatear feeding in the grass and presumably waiting for the perfect opportunity to start their outward journeys. I rather optimistically spent fifteen minutes or so trying to get a shot of one against the setting sun but to no avail as despite my constant instructions on where to land they steadfastly refused to cooperate. Whilst in the process of looking like a mad man talking to himself I put up a thrush like bird into the air from just beneath the cliff edge. I heard the distinctive call and caught a flash of red as my first Redwing of the winter flew past and over the fields towards Mewslade. A brilliant sight and a real show of migration in action. The Wheatears may be off but we can look forward to some great arrivals.
Just before I reached the end of Worms Head another familiar call filled the air as two Chough flew in from the direction in which the Redwing had headed. Amazingly one came and landed barely ten foot from where I was stood and started feeding while the other landed a bit further away behind me. It was almost dark by now so maybe they hadn’t seen me. I stood as still as I could for fear of scaring them away and was able to watch them for five minutes or so before they moved off into the nearby fields of their own accord.
After all that I almost forgot about the sunset which was my original reason for visiting there in the first place. The sky was too clear for anything too dramatic but it was still a great show.
On the walk back to the car a pair of Kestrels were on the wing catching the air currents shooting up the cliffs. I often see a Kestrel hunting here so I am not sure if this was a pair or two individuals. They did at one point chase each other around calling but that could have been just playful banter. Either way great to see. I just wish one of the days they would do it in daylight as it would be a fantastic photography opportunity.