After a couple of hours in conference calls on Sunday it wasn’t until late afternoon that I finally escaped back outside with my new camera. Clouds and heavy showers were the name of the game but with incoming sun forecast we headed down to Bracelet Bay. My original intention had been to spend a while with the Mediterranean Gulls but they were completely absent, probably as a result of the hordes of people who were enjoying the views. That put a bit of a halt on proceedings while we considered our next move. As it turned out the solution literally popped up in front of us when a female Stonechat appeared on the bushes bordering the beach. With a light rain falling and no sun this was the ideal opportunity to test the cameras low light level performance that had finally convinced me to upgrade.
The male above was photographed at ISO350 whilst the female was even higher at ISO400. With my previous equipment the results would have resembled something built with Lego blocks such was the drop in image quality at those settings, but now they are pin sharp with very little noise in either shot. Consider myself convinced and I promise that’s the last time I’ll mention the new camera again (probably).
After a few minutes of being led a merry chase along the top of the beach the promised sun began to put in an appearance. Out of the pair it was the female that was proving to be the most approachable so she was the one I focused my attention on. Eventually I was with rewarded with the frame filler I was after.
Looking up from the undergrowth I realised that Mumbles lighthouse was being lit superbly against the menacing grey skies that were still hanging over the rest of Swansea Bay. A better contrast you could not have wished for.
With my back turned the Stonechats had moved up onto Mumbles Head itself so I duly followed. At the very top a Crow was posing nicely so it would have been remiss of me not to point myself in its general direction.
Nice as Crows are they are never going to compete with the little bundles of character that are Stonechats.
Elsewhere around the bay there was a large raft of gulls just off Mumbles Pier that I have a sneaking suspicion may have been the returning Kittiwakes. Unfortunately I didn’t have my binoculars with me at the time and forgot to go back to check later on. Emma also spotted a couple of largish Terns further out but again the exact id eluded us. I was just glad that after a week of fog we finally had some decent weather that looks like set to continue.