On warm autumn days, when the sun shines, and the calm sea is Mediterranean blue, the place to be is on the cliffs. West of the lighthouse, the cliff path is relatively gentle, and busy with couples out for an afternoon’s stroll. Mediterranean gulls winter in Bracelet Bay, and a just few venture west along the cliffs to Langland, but they rarely seem to get as far as Caswell Bay. A beautiful pure white adult seems to accompany me as I walk towards Langland; there’s nothing special about this, but you never know what you’re going to find round the next corner. In flat light, and just a few yards below me, a lone and very late juvenile black tern fishes close inshore. To see one on the coast is not that unusual, but at this time of year it should really be much further south. A winter plumage guillemot pops up a few yards away. Although some do stay inshore during winter, this too is somewhat out of place, and most will be far offshore in the Atlantic by now.
Everyone looks happy on this lovely day, and I’m quietly amused by the exchange of comments from the smiling walkers as we cross on the path; ‘lovely afternoon’, ‘nice day’, ‘aren’t we lucky’, but best of all ‘mustn’t grumble about the weather today’. What they’re actually saying is that our weather is usually awful, and we have to be thankful for the few fine days we get each year - all very British.