I make no excuses for returning to Mumbles so soon after our last visit other than to say my parents were staying, we had a morning to fill and the prospect of Kittiwakes and Mediterranean Gulls flaunting their wares was simply too hard to resist (see, no excuses at all!). It was another gorgeous start to the day and having arrived early to avoid the crowds I’d expected to be tripping over Med Gulls in the car park at Bracelet Bay. Apparently though they had other ideas. Despite the tide being high the Gulls were still roosting down on a narrow strip of rock, not inaccessible by any means but also not the easy access I’d led our guests to believe. Still, everyone enjoys a good scramble don’t they and with some judicious field skills deployed we were soon within range.

P1100895 - Mediterranean Gull, Bracelet Bay
P1100869_2 - Mediterranean Gull, Bracelet Bay

As before there were a good number of juveniles in with the adults, a sure sign that our local breeding population is going from strength to strength. Most though had an awkward habit of hiding crucial parts of their anatomy, heads included, but I did eventually strike lucky with this delightful individual just starting to show its adult feathers.

P1100885 - Mediterranean Gull, Bracelet Bay

This pair of juvenile Herring Gulls were also present and looked so attractive that I couldn’t help but take their photo. Who said Gulls were boring.

P1100884 - Juv Herring Gull

Med Gulls well and truly ticked it was over to Mumbles pier next for Kittiwakes whose numbers looked perhaps ten to twenty percent lower than during our last visit. Being late in the season this wasn’t entirely unexpected but those birds still present were showing rather well indeed. The artificial nesting shelves held several pairs still busy feeding young whilst the old lifeboat station and its access walkway were lined on almost every available surface with Kittiwakes of varying ages. For me this was ideal as I didn’t want to simply retake the same photos again so instead set out with the objective of trying to capture a little of the setting as well as the birds themselves. I reckon on that score I was fairly successful.

P1100902 - Kittiwakes, Mumbles Pier
P1100963 - Kittiwakes, Mumbles Pier
P1100918 - Kittiwakes, Mumbles Pier
P1100928 - Kittiwakes, Mumbles Pier
P1100916 - Kittiwakes, Mumbles Pier

Of course there was still space for the obligatory close-cropped shot with these being a couple of my favourites.

P1100953 - Kittiwakes, Mumbles Pier
P1100969 - Kittiwakes, Mumbles Pier
P1100905 - Great BB Gull, Mumbles Pier
Not a Kittiwake

Whilst there talk inevitably turned to the sorry state of Mumbles pier itself, a subject close to my heart, during which the prospect of the RSPB buying the old lifeboat station was raised. In an area sorely lacking representation from a charity I’ve supported since I was a kid this, on the face of it at least, seems like a no-brainer. It would provide an ideal centre in a tourist rich location from which to promote their causes as well as providing commanding views over Swansea Bay from which to watch wildlife. On top of that it would allow continued protection of the Kittiwake colony itself including renewal and maintenance of the dilapidated nesting shelves. Sound like a good idea? I certainly think so. It might even provide that extra push needed to get the pier restoration underway.

P1100972 - Mumbles Pier

Needless to say my parents left Mumbles rather pleased that I’d been able to deliver on two out of the three species I’d promised them. What of the third I hear you ask? Well now, that one was to prove really rather special indeed……….


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