Out and about before dawn today. I mentioned in a previous posting that listening to birds is as enjoyable as watching them. So this morning after getting up early, it being mild, I thought pop down to Sand Bay before dawn and see (or should that be hear) what was down there. And a bit of exercise of course before another day of excitement in the office.
If you feel comfortable being out on a mudflat in the dark, I'd recommend it as when the dawn begins, all one can hear is the wind, the waves and the plaintiff cries of invisible birds out there. It started though in the car park, blackbirds "chink" chink" in the shrubs. Down on the marsh Curlew were the loudest with their wonderfully bubbling call, Redshank as ever shouting out their alarm call, even the Dunlin were calling as they raced along the wave line. As the light advanced, dark shapes flew against the dark sky, only when calling could I confirm Carrion Crow. Another joy was seeing a Ringed Plover feeding. Actually I didn't really see what it was, just a silhouette run stop peck, run stop peck along a strand line.
All in all an enjoyable hour out there just listening to nature, alone on the marsh. Many older writers such as BB write poetically about wildfowling on the marshes. Their atmospheric descriptions of their experiences waiting for Geese to fly in are well worth reading. And if I'd not been out there, I'd not have seen a dark shape flying over me as I walked back to the car..... a Tawny Owl heading back to it's roost, bringing a tremendous end to being outdoors before anyone else and before dawn. Just myself and nature as one.
And so to the light Side of Birding :-)
A Couple of days ago, Theo Webb a recent Zoology graduate and budding wildlife cameraman sent me a note, which included snippets from Christmas and a line "seeing a very festive half amelanistic 'blackbird'. I was excitedly taking photos when an onlooker approached and told me he saw it everyday - there went my National Newspaper fame and glory hopes!!"