Time has very much not been my own of late which meant that a few hours free this afternoon were met with unfettered enthusiasm. Sadly the weather wasn’t quite on our side and could best be described as gales with added greyness. Never fear however as whatever the conditions there’s always something out there to see, a fact amply proved at Burry Port within minutes of our arrival.
Looking along the beach from Pembrey Harbour meant an exercise in stability was necessary to combat the strengthening gusts blasting in from the south-west. Needless to say I wasn’t expecting to have much success on the photography front but these brightly coloured bags of cockles added a splash of colour to an otherwise wintry scene. Apart from a couple of Gulls the main attraction was a Little Egret which looked about as dejected as any bird I’ve ever seen. Hunkered down into the wind it was having little success fishing and was at risk of a severe sandblasting as streams of fine material blasted past its legs.
A little further on and I picked up two dark shapes through streaming eyes (due to wind of course and not as a result of hearing the latest Ashes score). Closer inspection revealed two Brent Geese, a common sight along the Burry Inlet but remarkably a first for me at this location. Both were feeding happily amongst exposed rocks and allowed a relatively close approach. I’d like to think this had a lot to do with my fieldcraft but I fear they simply couldn’t swim away against the wind.
I’ve had a good look through my reference books and I’m almost certain that these two individuals are of the dark-bellied variety as opposed to their lighter cousins. This is no real surprise given that the Burry is something of a stronghold for the species but it’s always worth keeping an eye out just in case. Rather fortuitously Barry Stewart has just written an article on this very topic for the Gower OS website and its well worth a read.
Sharing the same feeding grounds as the Brent Geese was a small flock of some twenty or so Ringed Plovers and a couple of Dunlin. Unfortunately I only spotted them once it was too late and had to make do with fleeting views as they shot along the beach to a slightly more sheltered position. I pointed the camera in their general direction on the off-chance and managed to get a shot that I think we’ll all agree is arty and not simply blurred.
Over at the inner harbour five or six Redshank were feeding along the exposed banks whilst another Little Egret could be seen fishing in the small stream. A quick scan of the gulls revealed nothing out of the ordinary and with that it was back to the car and relative peace.
Whilst I’m finally back on the blogging wagon I should mention the huge upsurge in birds that have been visting our garden in recent weeks. Given that the temperatures are still relatively mild I can only assume that natural food sources are starting to run low as it’s been many months since we’ve been able to watch such a steady stream of comings and goings throughout the day. All our regulars are of course present and correct but for me the highlight has been a flock of at least ten Long Tailed Tits and five Starlings today. The Starlings in particular have been making a right racket as they squabble over the fat-balls and I suspect a dent in the wallet may be coming if the level of food consumption continues at this pace. Not to worry though as I wouldn’t swap it for the world. Again photography has been severely limited by the conditions but I did manage to capture these three in our neighbours tree.
Let’s hope they continue to visit and we finally get some blue sky back.