Friday, July 15, 2011

Seasonal tide gathers momentum, recent supper featuring Chanterelles & Bilberries as well as fresh-gathered Mussels & Samphire.

By the tidal lagoon on a hot morning, liquid Curlew calls bubble from a squadron of 50 birds winging high overhead, pale under azure sky. Tracking them inland, up the estuary, individual birds suddenly roll and drop out of the sky in loose, flip-flopping dive to join 30 brown Curlew already roosting & preening on salting and creeks, newly returned from inland mountain nesting.

A dozen Redshank stand in estuary shallows, slim and alert on thin red legs. Just two calls and the dog sprints away to swim the estuary followed by familiar flight upstream accompanied by sloppy sprint of paws on mud.

A later sudden rush of wings precedes splashes as Redshank hit deep water, the remaining flock hurtling seaward in twisting flight, tracked just as a powerful shape breaks away. Failing to kill, the Peregrine mounts the sky in stiff, sharp-winged beats, scanning the estuary for a new target as it climbs

Wings now set forward, tail spread, the Peregrine planes in tight circles and figures-of-eight to ride a column of rising air from hot estuary sands, twisting up and up, until half-obscured in grey cloud base before breaking away in direct line toward the rocky shore. Level flight shifts to fast, shallow, bent bow dive, then compact arrowhead plummeting earthward in almost vertical, accelerating trajectory, sheer speed and power of which converts to screaming, skyward, rollercoaster ascent almost to original altitude when stoop is aborted.

Whimbrel resting from southward migration on the rocky shore, are spared aerial attack, as are Ringed Plover, one pair diligently guarding a silver-grey, beady-eyed youngster amongst boulders, another with three eggs in a sandy scrape only 4 paces from the breakwater where tourists walk daily.



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

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