Morning started 2 AM with dog whines and strangled yelps and a hurried trip downstairs to let him into the night, followed by sounds of leaping a gate, barging open another and hurtling, barking, into the orchard.
After a good wait, the porch door was left open for access to the kennel on his return.
Sleep was hard to regain, but soon lost with sounds of thumping and fears for a newly painted door, but no dog was waiting outside, sounds instead from the garden.
Checking the hen house, the torch showed no dog, but immediately inside the sliding hatch door a hen lay prostrate, claws in air; shining eyes, striped head and litter of feathered wings and claws illuminated in the dark beyond.
The morning proved still and hazy, warm sunshine tempered with a slight bite to the air, landscape bleached from winter snow and frost. Streaks of white on the mountains pierced the haze and pall of white smoke from gorse burning on the hill.
One young lamb lay under a sun warmed, dry-stone wall, ewe close by. Another even younger, ears drooped, still dark with amniotic fluid, licked clean by its ewe, a white sibling older by minutes already standing, pushing for the teat. The birth of a third lamb began, ewe torn between caring for the living yet needing space for the next.
Later, bold white & black Oystercatchers, warm grey & silver Knot, and small white Sanderling peel off the boulder shore, bright in sun as they wing their way low over the water, alighting just off shore, wings raised, amongst wavelets breaking on an emerging sandbar.
A long, white flushed pink drake Goosander drifts on the dark rippled bay, dozing in the sun, bottle-green head turned back, red saw bill tucked under one wing.
Wildlife Wales Activities: www.wildlife-wales.co.uk