Thursday, April 2, 2009

After a return to cold north winds with light snow on the tops, we are back to warm spring, though no liquid warble of Blackcap as yet. Despite cold winds, our first Swallow swooped around the house on Saturday, though probably in the country a while. First day’s fishing in the mountains was in sunshine under pale blue skies, cold winds rippling the lake dark blue; just a buff strip of winter bleached grass and sedge between. Several times, a Chough’s snarling call sounded from the horizon before one called overhead, flying high over the lake on distinctive square-ended wings with extended primary feathers. Amongst a litter of crags, boulders and gorse, close to last year’s nest site, a Stonechat sputtered out the scratches and whistles of its song. On the return, a flash of white as a Wheatear flits down the mountainside, alighting on rock and dry-stone wall tops to watch.

Tuesday’s sea is milk calm with just a hint of swell and the odd patch of dark, breeze-formed ripple. Seabirds are clearly visible in morning sun, almost at winter numbers: black Scoter in loose packs; long, white & silver Red-Throated Divers with up-tilted bills; snake-necked Great Crested Grebe in spectacular chestnut ruffed breeding plumage. Pure roseate-white sided drake Goosander ‘snorkel’ in shallows, long red bill, bottle-green head and neck outstretched across the water, looking for Prawns and Gobies. Out on the bay, diminutive black and white Razorbills dive and surface; a larger bird swims, less clearly defined dark brown & white, with high cocked tail; the first Manx Shearwater of the year. Just before leaving the beach, a pure silver fish leaps high out of a milky sea, about ten yards off the boulder shore; first Salmon of the year, cruising the shore, awaiting the next river spate.




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