Another spot of February high pressure: hoar frost white as snow at grey first light; each Rhinog mountain with just a peaked cap of white cloud streaming out under a clear, grey-pink dawn. On the long ridge between two valleys, the air warmed as we climbed; only fields in the valley bottom below frosted white; creamy sheep huddled below drystone walls, sheltered from downward flowing cold air.
Approaching a stone barn, a party of shaggy, bi-coloured Wild Goats moved through rocks and low scrub away from the dog, then plaintive bleating from a rocky hollow farm lane ahead: a Wild Goat stood tall on a rock, short horned against the sky, silver-grey kid trying frantically to scale the steep bank below. Calling a reluctant dog to heel, the kid was scooped up from the bank, still bleating, little heart pounding in the palm. The dam moved a safe distance but stopped to watch as the kid was placed, gangly legs spread, on rough pasture above, too young, tired or frightened to stand.
On return, both goat and kid were gone, but loud bleating up the valley suggested further dramatic events in the first dangerous days of life.
Loud Song Thrush notes ringing out over the valley below have really moved Spring along: previously tight, waxen, Hazel catkins suddenly hanging loose in sheltered spots, yellow with pollen to scatter on the next breeze; first two Celandines on a warm, south facing lane bank under an old Oak, just opening golden yellow in this morning’s sunshine, underside of petals deep maroon.
Glossy, white-veined Arum leaves stand tall in winter bleached grass, scattered drifts of Snowdrops in lawns & verges, and first long, swelling buds of Narcissus are all close enough to wild origins to contribute to the natural cycle of the seasons.
Wildlife Wales Activities: www.wildlife-wales.co.uk