Not a lot of people seem to know that the remains of old trees are slowly emerging from the glacial and post glacial deposits at Whiteford Sands as the surface layers of the beach have been eroding in recent decades – or at least I have been unable to find any published reference to their gradual exposure in this location. In fact, last winter (2012/2013) produced significant changes to the appearance of the beach towards the Point, with massive quantities of sand being stripped away and redeposited elsewhere. Subsequently, many new examples of old wood were revealed on the shore.
I believe that these boughs and trunks could be further remains of woodland that was inundated and buried in sediment following the last period of glaciation in Gower. Better known examples are the tree stumps of the submerged woodland at Broughton Bay, which is the next bay along the Loughor Estuary in the direction of the Bristol Channel. The whole area is known to have been covered in woodland about 10,000 years ago.
Two dew-covered white feathers lying on the beach at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales. It was a misty June morning when I spotted these feathers which were coincidentally arranged into a heart shape. Maybe it was something to do with the salt in the air, as much as to do with the fineness of the plumules of this downy feather, that so many individual droplets of moisture had formed on one small feather.
They were just a couple from a whole bunch of feathers scattered on the sand. It looked as if all the grey and white plumes had been freshly plucked from a bird. There were no bones or meat. I wondered if a bird of prey had been roughly preparing the dead bird before taking it to the nest to feed young.
Several larger, blunt-ended, black-tipped feathers amongst the small soft, downy ones look as if they might be from the tail of the bird. I will have to defer to any expert ornithologist reading this to identify the bird from which the feathers have been plucked and possible perpetrator.