Friday, July 8, 2011

Late afternoon low tide, hot, with air moving from a milky sea: scattered Herring Gulls float in the bay, occasionally lifting to drop where bait fish surface.

Small waves break cleanly over a submerged sand bar parallel with the rocky shore, channel of calm between. Two white & silver Herring Gulls suddenly call, lifting and dropping into spent surf spreading into the channel and dark ripple of moving fish.

Wading the line of breaking waves marking the sand bar enables casting shoreward, breeze behind, surface lure spurting over dark kelp and boulders. Trying for one fish per guest for supper leaves scarcely time to return home, and clean the catch.

Next day, same weather and state of tide, only bigger swell, waves wetting the chest. Mullet cruise in the channel: occasional surges or flash of white belly and silver sides, but no patches of dark boiling water, sudden cuts, slices, and dark streaks marking chasing Bass, the bay empty of Herring Gulls.

Again the following day: no gull or Bass activity, but a line of bulky, dark shapes float silhouette off-shore, eight, heavy-billed brown female Eider and one adult drake, black banded white with peppermint-cream facial stripe. A small, dumpy black silhouette, narrow bill and upstanding tail gives Black Guillemot, white roundels evident through binoculars, both species more characteristic of the Western Isles than Tremadog Bay.

Next day brings stiff south-west winds and choppy seas, chaotic storm waves breaking in tiers replacing smooth swell and clean breaking surf. Thin black lines cut low over dark waves and swing up into wind, pale bellies flared at the sun: Manx Shearwaters quartering the bay for scraps. Over a horizon boiling with kicking waves, dazzling white, stiff-winged Gannets hunt high and a great flock of early returning black drake Scoter swarms like bees.












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

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