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.
|Oh look, there's a cute storm coming!