Thursday, January 27, 2011

Putting out the flag brings a taste of the morning to come: biting north wind and tumultuous skies; serried grey Stratocumulus torn apart in great chasms revealing blue skies and towering white Cumulus. Bars of sunlight radiate down onto a grey winter landscape, illuminating bright green fields and rippled turquoise sea.

Coat buttoned high, cap down low, brows and cheeks are seared, fingers hard bitten on optical gear. Walking along the drainage dyke, winter-bleached, rabbit-grazed turf is flattened by excavator tracks. The deep ditch has been bucket-dredged, reeds neatly dumped along the far bank. A tiny brown bird buzzes out of the heap and across the track; a Wren finding insects in mud and debris.

Down the ditch line, beyond the estuary, a black speck circles tight in a patch of sunlight: Red Kite, wings and tail flared wide for support.

In a stone-walled field on a low, sheltered, southern slope, crested Lapwing stand with three Thrush species together: pale, coarse-speckled Mistle Thrush largest; then soft, fawn-brown Song Thrush; darker-backed, eye-striped Redwing noticeably smallest.

Teal mew soft warning as we approach the estuary, Teal and larger Wigeon silhouette in bright water, tight against shining mud flats before both spring, initial whistle of wings drowned by wild whistling calls.

Rounding the bend, about thirty white & black Shelduck string out at the waterline; two dark, small-headed forms are lately resident Brent Geese.

Approaching the breakwater boundary between estuary and sea, small parties of Wigeon and Teal fly overhead from shore to estuary mud-flats, wings and tail sharp against the sky. The Brents pass over low, skidding down into a flat sea where wavelets swish gently on shore.

After scanning bay and shore, it takes several more minutes to relocate the Brents only 80 yards distant, superbly camouflaged among shining wet boulders.













Wildlife Wales Activities: www.wildlife-wales.co.uk

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