If your weather has been anything like ours this past week then I think you’ll be able to relate to the photo above. We have had four days of heavy rain and wind broken only by light rain and stronger wind. The Mint in the garden that had been standing tall all summer has been battered to the ground and the untraceable leak around my bedroom window has returned after six months of absence. Yes my friends autumn is definitely upon us.
What we lose in blue skies however we gain in birds so I have been out doing a bit of birdwatching from that most useful of mobile hides, my car. Yesterday evening I spent a couple of hours at Penclawdd (the boats of which can be seen through the rain above) hoping for something unusual to turn up in the gull roost. There were plenty of Black Headed Gulls spanning a wide range of ages as well as good numbers of Lesser Black Blacked Gulls, but a couple of Common Gulls were as rare as things got. A small flock of nine Lapwing were another sign of the changing seasons, the first I have seen on the Burry since early in 2011. The usual Redshanks were making their presence heard whilst a pair of Greenshanks were a very nice surprise indeed. As I watched them they walked closer and closer until they were feeding right in front of my open window. Their rapid forward movements with beak under water contrasted nicely with the more sedate methods of a nearby Little Egret whose feet were busy shuffling through the mud in the hope of disturbing a few tasty morsels.
Today I was a couple of miles further along the coast at Llanrhidian Marsh where I picked up my first passing Osprey of the season. Ospreys are a fairly regular visitor to our area at this time of the year as they pause to rest on their long journeys south. A series of wooden posts serve as excellent perches, upon one of which my bird was sat. Other birds preparing to start long migrations of their own are the Swallows, several of which were hunting low over the damp grasslands. As far as I can tell they are the last of the hirundines left here now and it will be a sad day when they finally leave for the year. One thing I miss about winter is their incessant chatter overhead so I will definitely be savouring their presence for as long as I can.