Being a creature of habit it’s good to break the mould every now and again so last night saw me heading down to Gower for an evening wander. But wait I hear you cry, there’s nothing unusual in that. True but this time around instead of trundling off to Rhossili I cut straight across the peninsula ending up at Southgate. Surprisingly this actually turned out to be a much quicker journey than expected and after donning boots I was walking the cliffs a little before eight. With sunset rapidly approaching light levels were already low and the air thick with a salty haze blowing in on the stiff breeze. If anything this only helped to enhance the dramatic nature of Gower’s coastline and I worked quickly to try and make the most of the remaining light.
I wasn’t alone up there either. Periodic bursts of Whitethroat call erupted from those areas containing thicker vegetation whilst a pair of Stonechats and trio of Choughs were also milling about. With temperatures still high it was nice to be reminded of cooler times by the song of a Chiffchaff, the first arrival of which we spotted back when mid-summer seemed a long ways off indeed. All remained quite distant but I did stumble across a family of Crows feeding and generally messing about roughly half a mile from West Cliff.
My birding highlight though was undoubtedly the Peregrine Falcon which, having shaken off its pack of Gull pursuers, glided past me with a great sense of purpose and mystery. On stiff wings it looked every bit the master of its surroundings and I’m sure it’s no coincidence that moments after having disappeared over Three Cliffs a bank of sea fog rolled in. In a matter of minutes I lost sight of the bay completely and soon after the sea itself. Almost completely enveloped by swirling clouds of water vapour temperatures plunged by at least ten degrees bringing long awaited welcome relief from the insufferable heat of the last few days. That pretty much put an end to me photographing any sunset but it did allow for a little experimentation with the time lapse setting on my phone. Now there’s a phrase I never thought I’d be using.
With no signs of the fog clearing it was pointless sticking around so I enjoyed a somewhat isolated walk back to the car with visibility frequently down to twenty meters or so. Somewhere off to my right I could still hear waves lapping against the cliffs but the overriding sound was of Choughs. Presumably grounded by the early onset of evening they’d taken refuge down a steep slope but despite peering through the murk I couldn’t make visual contact.
Although thinning slightly as I drove inland the fog was still all prevailing but it didn’t stop me witnessing a Blackbird chasing off an intruding Tawny Owl near Gowerton. Now that’s definitely not something you get to see every day!