I was suffering from Chough withdrawal symptoms yesterday so headed over to Rhossili Down for a mooch around. After a rather warm climb to the top it wasn’t long before I caught the first snippet of call drifting across the landscape, closely followed by the birds themselves. What I had originally thought was a single individual soon turned out to be a pair, not that surprising really as they seem to rarely forage alone. An attempt to move in closer was quickly aborted as they seemed easily spooked, perhaps unsettled by the Crow that was standing watch over their every move.
Patience turned out to be the best approach as a few minutes later one of the Choughs flew right past me on the way to its next feeding area. Even better was the fact that in a miraculous stroke of good fortune my camera actually managed to focus on a flying bird for only the second time in its long history of trying. Result!
Being the day before Remembrance Sunday it seemed appropriate to take a small diversion to visit the old WW2 radar station on the western flanks of Rhossili Down. First operational in 1942 it was one of a group of stations commanded from Milford Haven whose purpose was to monitor the Bristol Channel. Originally designed to monitor shipping and low level aircraft it was soon upgraded to form part of the Chain Home Low radar network until its closure in 1945. Now all that remains are extensive concrete foundations and broken walls that help us remember our coast was not always so tranquil.
After dropping back down to sea level I decided to explore Llangennith Burrows. Despite popping by earlier in the year to see a Woodchat Shrike it’s not a place that I have walked extensively, and after an hour spent amongst the dunes I found myself wondering why. Although on a smaller scale then Kenfig it’s still very easy to find yourself in almost complete isolation in a sand valley that likely no one has been for a very long time. Stonechats, Song Thrushes, Blackbirds, Starlings, Meadow Pipits, Buzzards and the occasional Rabbit were my only companions, unless of course you count the extensive population of fungi that seemed to be growing wherever I looked.
By now the sun had started its all too rapid descent towards the horizon and with three miles of beach between me and my car it was time to turn for home. On the walk back I was treated to a large flock of Golden Plovers flying overhead in the direction of the Burry, whilst Oystercatchers and Gulls of Common, Black Headed, Black Backed and Herring varieties went about their business on the ground.
With such beautiful evening light it would have been remiss of me not to take the requisite shot of the Helvetia shipwreck with Worms Head in the background. It may be the most photographed view on Gower but it’s not hard to see way.