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.

25299 - Chough, Rhossili Down

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!

25300 - Chough, Rhossili Down

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.

25301 - Radar Station, Rhossili Down

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.

25303 - Llangennith Burrows Fungi
25302 - Llangennith Burrows Fungi
25305 - Llangennith Burrows Fungi

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.

25306 - Helvetia, Rhossili


TexWisGirl · November 14, 2011 at 12:30 am

the fungi are cool. the remembrance day comments / photos are indeed a good reminder…

J · November 14, 2011 at 8:49 am

Very interesting selection of shots. I saw my first ever Chough at Rhossili way back in '97. That wreck is definitely gradually sinking into the sand!

Bob Bushell · November 14, 2011 at 8:53 am

The Chough is outstanding, I have never seen one, maybe next year. The mushrooms are brilliant.

Caroline Gill · November 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

Brilliant Chough shot. I'm not likely to see any for a while over here in the 'far east'!

holdingmoments · November 14, 2011 at 10:53 am

One of my many highlights from my visits to Wales, were the sightings of Chough. Great captures Adam; more than I could manage.

Love the low angles of the mushroom shots too.

theconstantwalker · November 16, 2011 at 10:44 pm

You live in a beautiful place Adam and it's lovely that you really appreciate it. Wonderful images.

Adam Tilt · November 17, 2011 at 12:21 am

TexWisGirl – thanks. Glad you enjoyed them.

Jeremy – thanks. When I first moved here I was amazed to find Choughs along the Gower coast and it's still a joy to see them.

Bob – they really are a bird worth seeing.

Caroline – one of the downfalls of the east I'm afraid. You can take consolation from the fact that you will be getting all those lovely rarities instead.

Keith – thanks but trust me that flight shot was a pure fluke.

Andrew – I do and thank you for your kind comment.

Hilke Breder · November 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Enjoyed reading about your walk and about all the birds you saw. Great flight photo of the Chough; it's a new bird for me, read up on it on Wikipedia. Fascinating info. Loved your last photo – gorgeous light!

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