Spring at Oxwich

Yesterday, while the rest of the UK seemed to suffer from gloom, rain and sleet, down here on Gower it was bright and sunny almost all day. There was quite a strong, cold wind but it was a great walking day. So I took myself to Oxwich.  The coastal path is a beautiful walk and quiet; I met just two people on the entire walk. It is now part of the Wales Coastal Path, due to be opened officially in a few weeks time. But all the signs are now there ready and waiting.

A week or so back I did the same walk but there was a very low tide so I was able to avoid the climb round the old quarries and walk into Oxwich over the rocks. I walked right past the rock fall that happened in December 2009 which still looks very impressive

Yesterday the tide was not out far enough so I had to take the inland route. On the way up from Oxwich, over the quarries, I counted 268 steps; a tidy climb.

Oxwich has a nature reserve comprising sand dunes and marsh maintained by Countryside Council for Wales. The reserve boasts over 600 different varieties of flowering plants. As I entered it, I spied a yellow flower and in my mind I instantly thought “parsnip”. No, I thought, that is wrong. But what is it? In the next few minutes, I thought there is another yellow flower; similar leaf but with flowers on a stem. Then, flash, the flat one is primrose and the stem one is cowslip. My mind had somehow fused these names together and given me Parsnip. Funny how brains work.

There is a newish bird hide on the reserve and I spent a pleasant half hour there watching not a great deal of activity. But my investment of time was rewarded by a fleeting visit of a swallow (my first sighting of the year) then a heart-warming excursion of a female mallard with her family of 12 ducklings, scuttling hither and thither. She emerged from the reeds on one side and marshalled them across a stretch of open water and into another reed bed on the far side of the pool.

On my return walk I found some early purple orchids in flower, another first for the year. Never mind Spring. One swallow makes it summer now.

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