Having spent some time with the Mediterranean Gulls at Bracelet Bay it would have been rude not to make the short walk down to Mumbles Head and its ever accommodating Turnstones. The flock there is by far and away the tamest that I have ever found which makes it a perfect place for a spot of photography. On this occasion though I was amazed to find their numbers swelled to well over a couple of hundred. Wherever you looked, from beneath the pier (which still held a few Kittiwakes from this years breeding season) right out to the head itself, groups of Turnstones were busy feeding ahead of the incoming tide. Whilst this made for a great spectacle it did make a silent approach difficult as with so many eyes even the stealthiest of movements did not go undetected. In the end I resorted to crawling behind taller rocks and sticking the camera over the top so as to avoid any disturbance, and managed to come away with a couple of keepers.
With constantly shifting clouds and brief but sharp showers lighting conditions were far from perfect. The gloomy weather did however provide an excellent backdrop against which a sunlit Mumbles lighthouse stood out brilliantly.
Bringing things into the present we spent an hour or so this evening walking around the Machynys Peninsular, an area of coastline south of Llanelli that was once home to the steel industry. Now reclaimed it offers a fantastic way to take in the Burry Inlet. Being close to Copperhouse I was hopeful that we would again find the Grey Phalarope from earlier in the week, and indeed we did see what I presume was the same bird flying along the coast before it was lost to sight towards the WWT reserve. On the beach several Wheatears were hopping around, no doubt waiting for the wind to subside before starting their migration. Out on the mud a sizeable flock of Dunlin was feeding whilst the odd Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail and Magpie made the most of the grassy areas. A large pond on the nearby golf course briefly caused raised heartbeats as we mistook a juvenile Coot for a Slavonian Grebe. In our defence it was distant and the light was failing. Easier to identify were four Pochard, six Tufted Duck and at least eight Gadwall, whilst a brief outburst belayed the presence of at least one Cetti’s Warbler in bushes along the waters edge. Little Egret, Grey Heron and hundreds of Redshank made for a very satisfying evening.
I should also mention that on the way out we spotted a Harris Hawk in a tree near home. Harris Hawks are definitely not a native species to the UK but they are a very popular bird amongst falconers. As a result I imagine that this was another escapee although I could see no sign of tethers on its legs. After the Peregrine a few weeks ago it seems I have become a magnet for missing birds. If you’ve lost a bird of prey, if no one else can help, and if you can find me, maybe you can hire…..the A(dam) team!