We were up in Leeds this past weekend visiting family on what, despite a brief snow shower, turned out to be a very sunny couple of days. The presence of our favourite glowing orb was rather timely as Emma’s parents house has just been fitted with solar panels, the readout from which quickly became rather addictive as we tried to suss out why certain panels were producing better output than others (for those interested it turned out that shadows being cast from a lamppost and the still erected scaffolding were to blame). I’m still not entirely convinced by the green credentials of such technology, but as a gadget they are absolutely brilliant. Away from the house we enjoyed a couple of very nice walks through the Yorkshire countryside which included sightings of three Goosander and a dipping Dipper along the river Ure. Photographically I didn’t capture anything worthwhile but fortunately I still have a few to share from the previous Saturday.
Having reached the end of my Whitford walk I still had an hour or so before the sun went down and in a toss up between watching the Hen Harriers come in to roost over Llanrhidian Marsh or heading over to Mumbles for the Mediterranean Gulls, Mumbles won.
I’d been watching the cloud slowly build and by the time I got to Bracelet Bay the sun was but a fond memory and the temperature had dropped like a stone. The Mediterranean Gulls weren’t on their usual piece of grass or on the rocks beneath the car park, and at first the juvenile pictured above was the only individual I could find. Posing on a CCTV camera doesn’t give the most natural of settings but it is a true representation of how this colony likes to hang out.
A commotion up towards the Big Apple (a novelty shaped seasonal shop not the American city) soon had the rest of the group located though I was sorry to see that they have adopted the habits of their less exotic Black Headed cousins and were busy feeding on chips being thrown from a car. The best photo opportunities were again on the surrounding posts with this developing summer plumaged bird the pick of the bunch.
With a prime view of the chip killing field it wasn’t long before the Med had some company on its perch in the shape of two Black Headed Gulls, company of which it clearly was not impressed. The insults fell on deaf ears however and it was ultimately the Med who was forced to move on after another landed almost directly on top of its head.
With so much movement taking place it was hard to work out exactly how many Mediterranean Gulls were present, but an estimate of around twenty would be pretty much on the money. I didn’t see any ringed birds on this occasion but there was a nice smattering of full summer plumage on offer. My vantage point also gave a great view over Mumbles Pier which has started to be dismantled ready for its restoration. I’m going to miss the Kittiwakes this year who for the time being at least are going to have to find somewhere else to nest. Lets hope they return once the work has been completed.