Thursday, May 7, 2009

Back to sunshine, though buffeted by strong southwest winds. First broods fledging: young Song Thrushes blunder in woods; adult Blackbird’s thin whistle tells nestlings to crouch when predators near.

Scouting Llyn Eirddyn for rising trout, duck Mallard springs from spongy moss underfoot; streaked ducklings scatter amongst rush stems. One skitters off alone across the lake, squeaking; breasting the waves like a little motorboat. A Ring Ouzel’s wild and desolate note rings out from rock and scree.

The lake is perched on the side of a glaciated valley, held behind a bank of boulder clay; a sheet of water over rocks that litter the margins and lay green and blue under deep, clear waters. Trout hit the fly hard in blue waves; bend the rod and flash pale as they zig-zag under water; still satisfying when scooped, spotted brown and red, into the net. Later cleaning and gutting reduces the memory to nine-inch reality before freezing for later batch smoking.

No new arrivals on estuary and shore, but checking a new sett for an evening badger watch, a small bird flipped up to stand erect on a golden gorse spray set against deep blue skies with black-streak highwayman mask and peachy breast. Flicked off and low with no striking, rectilinear white rump, a second look confirmed a pristine male Whinchat in appropriate setting.

Fresh excavations indicated an occupied sett in a fine, open situation for viewing, but the evening badger watch brought no sighting, though earlier the group flushed a Grasshopper Warbler into reluctant, short flight from buff, dried sedges after long bouts of dry, ventriloqual stridulation.

After dark, the Barn Owl once again floats over wet ground below us, with random lifts, turns, hovers and occasional drops for short-tailed voles, first dark against sodium light, then white over dark rushes.

Wildlife Wales Short Breaks: Autumn, Winter & Early Summer
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