It’s hard to believe that the last two days were part of the same weekend given the complete contrast in weather conditions between them. Lets start with Saturday where we woke to a fierce storm that looked more akin to winter than the summer we are supposedly having. With rain lashing against the bedroom windows and wind howling through the eaves it looked like we were going to be facing our third weather hampered weekend in a row. In desperation I pulled up the Met Office radar maps and found what looked to be a dry window for the next three hours at Rhossili. Amazingly the forecast even turned out to be spot on for a change.
Walking along the cliffs the wind seemed to have lessened but the white horses out at sea told a different story. We only really started to feel its full force as we neared the lookout station at which point even standing still became a challenge. Each step required a concious effort to stop the lifted leg from being blown off course and it wasn’t surprising to find that we were pretty much the only ones there. The birds were wisely keeping themselves hidden with the exception of a few Swallows and a single Fulmar which prompted Emma into trying a spot of flying for herself.
At Tears Point (below) we settled down for some sea watching and were immediately rewarded with the sight of two immature Gannets close in to shore. Further out a constant stream of Manx Shearwaters were heading west and gave great views as they banked up and over the crashing waves. A few adult Gannets and the occasional unidentified Guillemot/Razorbill were also observed before the ominous sight of approaching rain pushed us back to the car.
Not wanting to head home quite yet we instead drove down to Bracelet Bay. If anything the wind was even stronger there and the waves towered above more passing Gannets and Manx Shearwaters. We only had one bird on our minds though after an influx during the last storm, so with the car rocking on its suspension we settled in for the wait. As it was we didn’t have to wait long before the sight of a small black bird dancing across the wave tops had me shouting out directions. Fortunately Emma was quickly onto it and we were both treated to our best ever views of a Storm Petrel. I’m no good at estimating distance but it was close enough to see the white tail band with just binoculars and was a definite distraction from the atrocious weather.
Speaking of the weather, which being English I tend to spend an awful lot of time doing, I thought I’d pull down some stats from our garden weather station to see exactly how much rainfall we’ve had this month. I think the graph below speaks for itself.
From two weeks of sunshine we’ve had to endure another fortnight of rain with barely a dry day to be seen. Thankfully Sunday finally managed to break that pattern and we headed west to Pembrokeshire to make the most of it….