Montol. Penzance. Cornwall. 21 December 2018

Hope. #62

 Walk in joyful procession to mark the closing of darkness. An important natural time of renewal and hope.

 Torchlight glow. The sparking of fire and the smell of burning fuel. Dripping wax onto chilled fingers.

 Costumes donned and perception changed. The curious; the pagan, the heathen. Joined as an ever changing fluid mass.

 Drumming and chanting echo flickering fire. A deep primeval response against the night. Safety in numbers.

 Older than establishment. Now play instead of prayer. Fun instead of fear. But touch the undertow and feel the connection with the past...

Seaton Wetlands. East Devon. 13 December 2018

Raw. #61

 Cold biting wind hits rippling water, causing disruption and randomness to surface movement.

 Forlorn 'mewing' of Common Gull heightens the sense of desolation and longing. A lost call in the landscape. 

 Mediterranean Gull sit out the tide with more mundane relatives. Bonded together by piercing gusts and relentless sprey.

 Oystercatcher 'kleep' high in the turbulence. Going with the flow, soon past landfall and far out to sea.

 Bobbing like corks; immune to the downpour, Shelduck grunt and whistle in grudging acceptance.

 Formation Curlew lift from the margins, higher and higher, into the sky. Calling and circling away from view.

 Spinning top Teal, busy in the reed edge. Hustle and bustle in communal readiness. Light fading fast: the end of the day...

RSPB Arne. Dorset. 07 December 2018

Sika. #60

 Deftly moving through the understory, silent shadow deer observe the interloper. Cackling Jay give voice to the scene.

Breaking cover to graze salt marsh, sending sentinel Redshank away with the wind. All 'tew wu wu' and effort, and white trailing edge.

 Lifting response, Curlew avoid the intrusion in noisy indignation. Alighting soon after, safe from the trampling.

 Whirling Brent Geese plummet from lead skies. Guttural 'talking' maintains the flock; feeding at a distance, aware of the herd.

 Offshore grey seal bobs head out and curious. Leisurely glances before submerging below. Surface replaced by 'brownhead' Merganser.

 Resting in gullies, Wigeon break cover. 'Whistling' up and away, bolting with Teal in well worn movement.

 Heads are lifted and then back to business. Slowly follow the receding tide. 

 Daylight is short and of the essence; winter survival, the only concern...


Somerset Levels. 02 December 2018

Gathering. #59

 Reedbed erupting with murderous intent, the sound amplified by passing wind. All grunts and squeals; vocal but shy Water Rail.

 Wave after wave of tumbling, dancing Lapwing. Dropping down to sodden pasture and island safety. Secure as darkness falls.

 Rippled surface broken by panic and flight, as wildfowl evade the passing of death. Powering above, the Peregrine scatters.

 Homeward bound in tight formation, Black-headed Gull follow the leader. Lost to the horizon as height is gained.

 Marsh Harrier hunts low over wafting phragmites. Ghost like oneness before the solitude is broken and the air is full.

 Then the noise, the shockwave. The pulsating, gyrating, mass of energy. The spectacular sight of precision movement that is Starling murmuration...