Monday, January 26, 2009

Sheep now brought down from the mountains for lambing, the tops are clear for the dog to run. Goats appear bone-white in the far distance as opposed to cream white of sheep, dark forequarters and heavy heads of horn apparent on approach. Last week, a herd of thirty or so moved line-astern up a ridge to high ground, leaving one individual behind close to the path, remaining at bay as both we passed close. It allowed careful approach to within two yards, evidently due to lameness: impressive heavy horn and yellow eyes with parallel-sided pupils; gone on our return, so must have chosen to stand as preferable to being run down, hampered by injury. Every February, the Sunday run brings at least one pristine young kid, found by the dog in a hollow in the rock and heather, upright and bright eyed with Mohican-style crest. Wild goats, though not indigenous, have been in these mountains possibly from Neolithic times. Certainly, Thomas Pennant in the late 18th century talks of them as good eating when shot and smoked over the wood fire of a local farm.

Saturday brought a good sighting on the bay. The sea a little less stormy than of late, silver-grey, white-fronted forms, of wintering Red-Throated Divers & Great Crested Grebes are returning: latter, snake-necked; former with up-tilted bill. Watching many minutes for a Grebe to resurface, the fine, grey form of a Tern appeared, hawking over the waves across the bay, occasionally turning on a wing tip to drop onto or patter across the surface for a morsel. But Tern it could not be here in winter; and a Tern would jet into waves with a splash. Watching its progress, dark under-wing and rounded tips became apparent: Little Gull from the east, wintering in our warmer waters.




Wildlife Wales Short Breaks: Autumn, Winter & Early Summer
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