Friday evening’s dual forecast of high tide and sunny intervals had Burry Port written all over it. The fact that I last managed to squeeze in an after work trip there several months ago was just added incentive and in the end I managed to arrive with about thirty minutes to spare. Already the tide was racing in, filling old Pembrey harbour at an alarming rate. At least if you were a Redshank that is, several of whose panicked flights and calls expressed more than a little displeasure at having their evening plans thoroughly disrupted. In no danger of getting their feet wet were a couple of tailless juvenile Meadow Pipits (anxious parents calling nearby) as well as several Skylarks whose brief bursts of song as they took flight were music to my ears. Looking further afield I could see the regular flock of Oystercatchers gathered off the harbour wall, their continuous shuffling movement to escape the ever rising tide surely one of natures greatest treats. Things were looking good and with the light just about perfect everywhere I looked was another photograph just begging to be taken.
If I’d been any later I may have missed the large gull flock being moved on as its sandbank disappeared beneath the waves but as it was things worked out perfectly. Most were Herring Gulls of varying ages but mixed in were a couple of Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls, one lone Common Gull, twenty six Sandwich Terns (my personal favourite Tern species) and a frankly amazing thirty plus Mediterranean Gulls! At least I thought it amazing until reading that another birder had recorded 128 further along the coast. If there was ever any doubt that these relatively recent arrivals to south Wales are here to stay, then consider final nail and coffin connected. The whole lot ended up settling over on the edge of Pembrey Burrows from where the Med’s and Sandwich Terns stood out a mile, the latter’s raucous calls added to by a pair of juveniles fruitlessly begging their parents for food. With so much movement going on this seemed as good an opportunity as any to try and improve on my thus far poor record of in-flight bird shots using this new camera (Lumix FZ330 in case you were wondering). Of course that meant everything immediately settled down but I did manage to capture a passing Sandwich Tern (sharp but highlights blown) and Common Gull (less sharp but better exposure). Still work to do I feel.
Also about were a couple of Curlew, six Ringed Plovers, one Little Egret plus a single Wheatear. The Burry itself seemed oddly quiet other than a lone Cormorant, unless of course you count the sound of bongo drums drifting across from the country park. Slightly surreal backing track that one.
With nothing else looking like putting in an appearance I relocated to the opposite breakwater to try and capture a little of the scene as the sun slipped away. Being summer the sun is setting over land from here so a ‘classic’ image wasn’t on but there was more than enough to keep me entertained. Some of those reflections were simply exquisite.
A better set-up for the weekend you couldn’t have asked for, two days which we used to their full.