Tuesday, 17 January 2017

A Dawn of Many Colours

After a light frost this morning we had a dawn of many colours. As I drove across the marsh road towards the reserve, the sky in the area where the sun was imminently about to rise, was an amazing range of red, pink and yellow colours with a backing of blue. Soon after, a fantastic orange glow preceded the great orange-red sun as it slowly began to climb above horizon and buildings and trees in the distance became burnished in gold. It was a dead still, beautiful dawn, to a day that remained cold but sunny for the whole of it, if we could of added ten degrees of temperature it would of been the perfect Spring morning, but it's coming. And now, as I'm writing this, I have the red sun creating an amazing sunset as it goes down behind the trees to the west of me, it's been a good day.
Yesterday afternoon, myself and two others, carried out our monthly Wetland Bird Survey on the reserve. Each of us has a particular section in which we count all the wading birds and wildfowl that we see. Judging the huge amount of birds that I could see at the Shellness Point end that particular guy must of been recording a good count and I was really pleased to see a pair of Bewick Swans in the bay there, my first this winter.
My section, the main marsh part of the reserve, didn't produce huge numbers of birds due to the continuing dryness but I was pleased to record c.160 White-fronted Geese and the ever present Crane as it noisily walked around the marsh. The light was just beginning to fade as I finished my count and a damp chill began to set in under the clear sky, the precursor to the frosty evening that we ended up with. I stayed on the sea wall to count in the Hen Harriers as they went in to roost out on the saltings as part of our Monthly Harrier roost census and to chat with a local wildfowler who I could see making his way towards me. The dusk increased, the geese called to each other over on the winter corn and Curlews "bubbled" away out on the saltings as they waited for the tide to drop, it was magical and the place to be.
I eventually counted in three Hen Harriers going in to roost as the cold darkness began to descend and briefly chatted with my wildfowler friend about what has been a pretty dire wildfowling season so far. Pretty quickly he needed to get out on the saltings and in position to ambush himself a duck or two and I left and followed the small white shape of Ellie in the near dark as she made her way back across the marsh on the scent of a hare that she was never going to catch. We had both enjoyed a particularly good winter's afternoon.


  1. A beautifully atmospheric post Derek

  2. Another great account Derek cant wait for that book to be published. HNY

  3. Another great account Derek cant wait for that book to be published. HNY

  4. You painted a lovely picture of the dawn there Derek. Here we awoke to thick fog. It cleared slowly but no sun came out.

  5. Derek - a superbly constructed account, so atmospheric as to be almost touchable. As my teacher would have said "The boy did good!"
    A great post mate - Dyl

  6. Well thanks to all you guys, very encouraging and makes a change from my school reports which used to regularly say, "could do better".

  7. Re Dylan's comment:

    They ALWAYS wrote on mine -

    "Doesn't try hard enough. Wastes his time daydreaming."

    I think they had stock phrases.

    Naturally I was dreaming. There was nothing of any interest going on.

  8. They certainly keep up with the hunting down your way Derek. I don;t think there are eagles around here - and as far as I know they don't shoot the crows. As a child I lived directly opposite a huge rookery (I think that is why I love them so much) - they had a rook shoot every year and many of the dead birds used to end up in our garden.

  9. Re log burners and pollution Derek - it seems that it is mostly if you burn soft woods like pine and fir. We always burn either anthracite or hard wood.