Friday, May 29, 2009

Perfect May morning: dewed grass, blue skies, gentle breeze. Walking toward the great Ash in the meadow above the house, a sudden ‘swoosh’ at knee level and a Blackbird is spread against the sky in a climbing turn. A brown shape, also outspread and climbing but overshot, is too large for a female Blackbird and with a barred tail. Rolling over to cruise level over treetops, a female Sparrowhawk is long-tailed and broad-winged, fine-barred, ash-grey breast apparent.

Driving north to South Stack, blue skies and glittering seas make a perfect Bank Holiday, only a wisp of cloud or smoke streaked across the face of Holy Island Mountain, but approaching South Stack, sea mist streams low over a grey heath. Clumps of soft yellow Kidney Vetch, soft pink Thrift over mossy cushions, dark pink, jester’s hat Fleabane and fine blue Milkwort streaked white border the rocky path. Below a grassy cliff edge, black and white Razorbills with browner Guillemots are dim in mist, tucked tight on ledges against the cliff face, Kittiwakes gliding with harsh cries far below. Standing in the grass on felted white stems, a head of single golden marigold flowers is Fleawort, confined to these sea cliffs.

Cemlyn is a tiny bay of clear waters backed by a pebble bar, tidal lagoon trapped behind. Harsh braying of Black-Headed Gulls and bleating of Terns are heard before low islands appear, littered with pure white nesting birds. Amidst a cacophony of harsh cries, the colony is busy with brooding, mating, preening, displaying. Amongst chocolate-brown heads of Black-Headed Gulls, next to a clump of sea-beet, the black head and red bill of a lone Mediterranean Gull is startling when raised from preening. A steady traffic of elegant terns passes over the shingle bar in buoyant flight, pure white against blue skies.













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