Tuesday 17 April 2012

Gwyr - Diwrnod Pedwar

Our fourth day on the Gower and, coincidentally, the birthday of one of Our Lass's sisters. I was informed that when they were younger, there was much expectancy amongst the sisters as to whether it would snow on April 3rd. Perhaps it was a healthier option than icing for the birthday cake? Anyway, as she now lives in Scotland and the weather had turned very cold across the whole of the UK, the answer this year was a resounding "Yes, it did snow."

Before all the chilly stuff reached South Wales, however, we thought we'd have a trip to the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust reserve at Llanelli. There were a few showers about, but these were interspersed with spells of warm sunshine. Warm, that is, if you could find a spot out of the cold wind.

Those of you near the front of the class and more likely to be paying attention may remember this post from a few years ago recalling a previous visit to WWT Llanelli. But that trip was a whole month later in the year than this one, so we weren't anywhere near as hopeful for the outcome. Undaunted, one of our first ports of call was the Pond Walk, because you just never know!

Whilst there was much birdsong from Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, sightings of Orange Tip butterflies and also Lady's Smock/Cuckooflower, it did feel just too raw in the chilly wind for there to be an ode on the wing. Trudging back to the main path, we were a little down-hearted, as the forecast for the afternoon was gradually deteriorating weather which would last for a few days.

Then, as the path curved around between banks and hedges, we both stopped in our tracks, pointed ahead at flying insect that we'd disturbed and shouted "Damselfly!" Having left the camera in the car, it was left to my phone to record our first Odonata sighting of the year, a Large Red Damselfly, a whole two weeks earlier than we could expect back in Buckinghamshire.

Within 10 minutes, the sun had disappeared and, by mid afternoon, it was absolutely chucking it down. None of which mattered too much, as I didn't stop smiling for the rest of the day. It was a scant 128 days since my last ode sighting of 2011, the Common Darter at HESC, so a whopping 61 days better than the equivalent period in 2010/2011. And that's a saving of 2 whole odo-less months. Oh, happy day!

After lunch, we beat the rain to a hide overlooking the Loughor estuary and had a splendid time watching a flock of Redshank, a few Greenshank, bazillions of Shelduck and half a dozen Pintail, all sheltering from the weather. When the clouds eventually stopped for a bit of a breather, we nipped back to the cafe for tea and cake.

Towards evening it faired up a bit, so we ventured out to Rhossili on the off chance that there might be a sunset. The wind had swung around to the west and it felt like it had taken the whole journey across the Atlantic Ocean to build up speed. The bay looked fantastic in the low sunlight,  but it was tricky holding the camera still.

Rhossili Bay
As we neared  the tip of the promontory, it became obvious that we wouldn't be fortunate on this occasion, the clouds building up and obscuring the horizon. However, the contrast between the bright pink and the glowering grey of the scene was photogenic enough.

Sunset? Nuh-uh.
Upon reaching Worm's Head, it looked for all the world like a ship sailing into the maelstrom, which as it turned out, wasn't too bad a description for what happened next.

Oh look, there's a cute storm coming!
A storm rushed in from the west and the 10 minute walk back to the car was a bit like swimming the Channel, only wetter. But hey, following the Big Red sighting earlier in the day, I was still glowing on the inside.


holdingmoments said...

Massive 'savings' in Wales!
Not seen my first Damsel of the year yet.
That sounds kinda sad, but you know what I mean.

Lovely shot of Rhossili Bay. That's how I like my beaches; deserted.

Imperfect and Tense said...

We were astounded by how much Spring activity there was for the first week of April.

Apparently, everyone else was sat in the bar of the hotel looking out of the large windows. Drier and warmer, but not as engaging.