Westhay Moor NNR. Somerset. 30 December 2020

Patchwork. #139

 Washed out sky dulling the horizon. Walking up Snipe in softened hoar-frost bogland. Safe from the guns as they whirl on a controlled arc over this peat scarred land.

 Remnant embers of a different era, ripped from the landscape in some abstract design. The hand of man sculpting to the return; turning the clock to a more benign time.

 Wetland home to dabbling duck; 'chats' and Blackbird. New scrapes for waders; as Lapwing dance above open reedbeds, ingrained haunting calls roll back the years.

 Snaking landscape; full to overflowing, spilling into every rut and dyke. A raised island copse catches the eye, as a female Sparrowhawk chases fleeing prey though its outstretched branches...

Tremella Sp. Stoborough Heath NNR. Dorset. 20 December 2020

Boscage. #138

 Sitting quietly in dense cover surrounded by waterlogged scrub edge. Soft rush pushing through leaf litter as habitat underfoot slowly changes. Dank and dark; sheltered from the storm, invisibly serenaded by a lone Song Thrush.

 Territorial Magpie flit through dense bare branches; calling their own in harsh gutteral chatter. Contact alarms resound with each passing Crow or Rook; resulting in a flourish of activity and angst. Then peace once more returns to the stunted canopy.

 Parasitic 'golden ear' jelly fungus clinging onto damp and decaying branches. A steady stream of miniscule insects seemingly attracted to its hydrated spread. Soft to the touch, its gelatinous interior weeps.

 Muntjac stand frozen as confusing scent trails move within the browse-line. Alert and unsure as to the unseen danger, instinct and self-preservation return. Without fuss; they silently and effortlessly disappear through seemingly impenetrable thicket... 

Morston Quay. Blakeney NNR. Norfolk. 09 December 2020

Thaw. #137

 Deep frost nipping short cropped salt marsh into glistening needles. Brent Goose 'yak-ak-ak' contact calls within the grazing flock.

 Rime slowly softening as weak sunlight penetrates the cuts and gullies. Sentinel Redshank flee to bankside vegetation, stiff wings gliding low.

 Wildfowlers of 'BB' writings move in my imagination, flowing out from tide and history. Then as now, Wigeon sense the intrusion and whistle their flighted retreat.

 Snow Bunting; still part ginger, alight on higher, firmer ground. Dropping down then up again in an instant; like billowing snow, only to melt back into the rolling mist...

Reedham Chain Ferry. Norfolk Broads. 03 December 2020

Pilgrimage. #136

 A cold and blustery day full of hope and expectations. Rusting chain links creak from mechanical strain as the Yare beneath broods in bitter flood.

 Fading light and driving rain hide sodden fields and sheltering fowl. Headlights cut through darkened lanes as memory and anticipation merge into sharp reality.

 Distant calls of haunted Tawny Owl juxtapose the immediate whirling of hundreds of Lapwing. Onomatopoeic 'peewit-peewit' piercing the total blackness.

 Unseen but there: roosting Marsh and Hen Harrier await the dawn; driven by food and shelter to this place, to this time. Winter spectacle beyond compare...

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