Friday, August 14, 2009

Peak holiday season and things are busy: yesterday brought a regular morning wildlife walk followed by afternoon rock pooling and evening ‘Wild Food Supper’. The day started warm and calm: Grey Seal snorkels and wallows just off the rocky shore, only yards from unaware beach-goers; a single Dolphin arcs black as it moves across the horizon; another, smaller, with interestingly finer fin profile enters the bay from the opposite direction, past red sailed ketch and lobster buoys.

Soon, a light breeze turns languid calm to grey chop; hard to spot seals & Dolphins breaking the surface.

By evening, calm returns as we walk the estuary, snapping off succulent Glasswort stems for supper and searching tide-cleaned sands for Otter tracks. No webbed marks, amongst usual dog, sheep and rabbit prints, but many arrow-like Curlew and Oystercatcher tracks as well as fine, clawed Weasel prints tracking a rabbit back towards the tide line.

Having gathered, washed and cleaned blue Mussels, Laver and Glasswort, light fades as the sun sets behind pink and orange cloud strips into a grey sea. Whilst tending a small driftwood fire set in a boulder hearth, waders and terns call from the sandy estuary behind. Neurotic, fussing cries of Oystercatchers and bleating of Sandwich Terns are usual daytime fare, but tonight Curlew’s liquid calls spill across the evening sky and a Redshank pipes loud and clear, moving down the channel from estuary to shore. Common Sandpipers call insistently to each other by the harbour pool; they breed by mountain lakes and move down to the coast before migration, but these are only the second occurrence of the year. Later, supper done and cleared, as we walk back down the beach, Ringed Plovers call softly from the dry, upper shore with muted buzzing trills of Dunlin from waters edge.
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