AUTUMN 2015: Indian Summer gives way to general yuckiness....

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It's December 28th 2015 and time for the last post of the year. I could fill this one with flood-related images but they are everywhere around the media so instead we'll concentrate on some better aspects! That Indian Summer - wow! It seems such a distant memory now but I'll try and bring it back to life. Day upon October day of light winds, work outside at times guiding, or just pleasure fishing and wildlife watching. At low tide I would wander the rocky reef south of Borth, fishing or just lazing about....

fishing borth

As evenings fell, vast shoals of mackerel would move in to harry the whitebait: you could have caught however many you wanted....

sunset Borth Reef

Days rounded off with  stunning sunsets...

sunset Borth Reef

One early evening I saw and photographed a remarkable spectacle as the mackerel herded thousands of whitebait against the rocks before charging through them, eating as many as possible. The terrified small fish did their best to escape...

mackerel feeding frenzy

...some stranding themselves on the rocks in the process...

mackerel feeding frenzy

whitebait

Meanwhile every seabird in the vicinity was getting in on the feeding-frenzy

seabird feeding frenzy

Tough business being a whitebait, if you ask me!

A few more trips to the Llyn Peninsula to walk, fish or just gaze: Bardsey Lighthouse...

Bardsey Sound

Porth Colmon...

Porth Colmon

The 31st saw the annual Lantern Procession in Machynlleth. It was a chilly night, to the extent that condensation on my lens was a real problem, but I managed a few shots all the same....

fireworks

fireworks

But the forecast models were by now starting to threaten change. On November 1st, determined to make the most of the bright conditions, I walked over to Glaspwll in the Llyfnant Valley, where the colours were stunning as they usually are in early November:

Glaspwll

at Glaspwll

at Glaspwll


at Glaspwll

On the 2nd I visited an old favourite spot, Cardiac Hill on Bardsey Sound. First cast and I had these:

mackerel

With a few more fish in the bag I climbed back up the cliffs and had a leisurely amble along their tops. This is the one bit you are advised to avoid - not a good spot for a slip!

Trwyn Maen Melyn

I liked the low-angle light here though!

sheeptracks

Up above, a few Parasol mushrooms were to be had. It literally felt like the last day of summer.

Uwchmynydd

The following weekend I had to go and give a talk at Oriel Plas Glyn y Wedd and this was what greeted me out on the road beyond Pwllheli.

flooding

flooding

And since that day it has seemingly been endless. I think we've had two hoar-frosts since November 1st, there's been one instance of snow on the tops and it has been insanely mild and windy: indeed it looks as though December 2015 could end up milder than all but one or two of the Novembers in the entire record!

The sea's mostly been too rough to go fishing and fellow anglers speak in terms of cabin-fever. The occasional brighter spell did allow for a bracing walk or two but the wind has been almost incessant!

sea at borth

camel rock

The conditions did provide a good amount of seaweed for the veg-garden's annual mulch:

seaweed at Borth

Through December, Wales has suffered from two things in particular: excessive rainfall and dullness. The photo below sums it up. It shows the flood-barriers that are locked across the main A487 on the way out to Dyfi Bridge. The police have to request the County Council to close them, but the system works by and large, and has prevented a lot of the incidents that were a familiar sight in years past. This was taken one Sunday as another flood was receding - there have been several.

floodgates A487

In this instance the river rose quickly to within just a centimetre of its November 18th 2009 record level of 4.03 metres. The strength of the flood is evident below - the water took out a fairly long section of steel railings and large kerbstones.

flood damage A487

flood damage A487

flood damage A487

Damaging floods like these are dominating the news right now, of course, and will continue to do so. UK 24 and 48 hour rainfall records have fallen - 341 millimetres in 24 hours at Honister in the Lake District is a phenomenal amount of rain by anywhere's standards. Is there any let-up in the offing? Not yet. Wednesday 30th sees another very wet day with a risk of more disruption.

Convective weather has been scarce though: much of the rain has been dynamic in nature, the result of filaments of very moist air caught up in the warm sectors of low after low conveyoring NE across the Atlantic. I did hear thunder twice in December - just isolated strikes after nightfall. The nearest I got to anything interesting was this - on the evening of December 15th. It looks like the updraught of a supercell on the Great Plains!

pseudocell!

pseudocell!

2015 has not been the most productive in recent years from a weather photography perspective, but that's something nobody has much control over. I daresay some press photographers are making a mint up in N England but I'm keeping out of the way - the people up there have more pressing needs right now and, after all, I have many images of floods from over the years.  So once again it's time to wish all my readers a happy 2016 - a dryer one hopefully!

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