Thursday, April 5, 2012

Blackcap, Redstart, & Dolphin

Just a week after Chiffchaff arrival, awoke to a cascade of liquid notes: first Blackcap of spring. Later, took many minutes to locate a singing male, just visible, sooty-capped clear grey, in an Ash fork set in a crown of pollen-yellow flowers bursting from black bud scales beneath a pristine blue sky.

Outside the kitchen window, set in black-berried Ivy, lift and shiver of grey disclosed another singing male, pale throat feathers and open bill quivering with song.

Early on a cold morning, familiar halting ‘zip-zip-zippee-zeep-zeep’ floated up from lane-side woods: unlikely conditions for first Redstart appearance, only topped by an urgent, harsh, ‘shook-shook-shook’ overhead, surely last Fieldfare of winter, also moving northward.

Just this morning, mountains white with snow; two pale violet-blue flowers beside the bare woodland path gave first two Violets, with low spires of similar hue set in hill-top open grazing, first Cuckoo Flowers or Lady’s Smock.

Last week’s high pressure gave a run of warm, sunshine with blue skies and no wind; perfect Bass fishing if not so early. A privilege to stand on projecting rock, casting out over pale blue waters, occasional Mullet springing, twisting silver in the sun before hitting with a splash and dark ripples, or to stand in crystal waters, casting and retrieving over clearly visible sand, rock and dark bladder-wrack.

Once, the surface is marked by small fish spooked by the line overhead; a few retrieves later, bang on the line, surface flash and commotion brings an 8” ribbon of fine-scaled silver to hand; Sand Smelt followed by 7 others before the shoal moves out of range.

Just where pale blue calm meets darker waters, a long grey back barrels over with back-curved dorsal; first Bottle-nosed Dolphin of the year, emerging regularly fast and determined on direct course parallel to shore.










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

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