Believe it or not today is officially the start of Autumn (at least if you follow the Meteorological system as I do) and to celebrate Summer seems to have made something of a comeback. Since this morning the clouds have slowly been retreating leaving us to enjoy a perfect evening which we put to good use seeking out Grey Wagtails and Dippers on our local stream. The fruits of that expedition are for another time though as watching the sun go down reminded me that I’d yet to share a similarly enjoyable trip out to Machynys way back on the 11th August. It was one of those classic Summer evenings which will all too soon be just a distant memory but which, for now at least, are to be celebrated and looked forward to in equal measure. Temperatures were pleasantly warm with barely a breath of wind and all around us House Martins were darting this way and that. To date Machynys holds the greatest concentration of these birds I’ve seen all year with one particular chimney seeming to be at the epicentre of it all. At times up to thirty individuals were crowded around its structure, some resting on top whilst others simply clung to the sides. Amongst the throng were several juveniles and the noise of so much activity brought a smile to my face. I only wish this was my own chimney.
Along the beach a single Wheatear was proving elusive as ever with good numbers of Curlew and Little Egret further out on the Burry. In fact we were about to get views of one of the biggest single gatherings of Egrets I’ve yet seen on the estuary as somewhere in the region of ten birds flew over in the direction of Loughor bridge. On a slightly smaller scale were a flock of eight or so Ringed Plovers roosting near one of the slipways. Several eclipse plumaged Gadwall on the pond were a nice find but once again we drew a blank on any Swifts. Too late now so better luck next time.
What we were really here for though was the sunset and boy did it not disappoint, even if we very nearly missed the main event such was the rapidness of its approach. The wide expanses of mud and sand along this stretch of coast lend themselves well to landscape work, especially at this time of day. I even got to recreate one of my favourite images looking off towards Whiteford lighthouse in the distance.
Hopefully we’ve still got a few more evenings like this in the offing as I’ve got several new locations to try out. All we need is for those clouds to stay away!