Standing waist deep in the current at the estuary mouth, casting and retrieving for Bass, one is alive to any signs of activity. Bass, Mullet, Salmon & Sea Trout will leap, gleaming silver in the sun, often very large and high enough to clear the horizon. Less obvious and often accompanied by gull activity, the sea may be splashed, cut and sliced by Bass chasing bait fish to the surface. Force generated by strong swimming disturbs regular ripple patterns on the surface, a cast in their path often resulting in a solid take and ensuing test of line, knots, hooks and patience. On several occasions, a thin silver fish has snaked fast across the surface: sword-beaked Garfish will take a surface lure and are good to eat, despite bones of startling jade green
Scanning a choppy sea also demands concentration and patience; seabirds are only visible for a second or so between waves and most dive to fish, so may be missed despite several passes of the telescope. Such concentration brings unexpected rewards as last week when another thin-winged, brown bird was spotted far out above the sea. Sudden turns, swoops, and dives suggested a chase, but the quarry was not visible against green and russet of distant mountains across the bay. Through the telescope, a small bird occasionally became apparent, white under-parts lit by autumn sun as it threw itself desperately about the sky, tracked by a relentless Merlin until both were lost to sight.
Distinctive thin whistles of first Redwing were heard from treetops at the mountain base early one Sunday morning two weeks ago; windblown parties breasted the hills in characteristic, ‘flick, flick, flick,.….glide’ flight; autumn now here and winter not far behind. On still winter nights, Redwing thin whistles are heard as the flocks pass overhead.
Wildlife Wales Activities: www.wildlife-wales.co.uk