Friday, 14 January 2011

Tail lights fade....

Buffalo Tom are one of my favourite bands and the title of this post is also the title of one of their songs. I was left with the chorus of this song rolling around my head after a rather special episode that hapenned yesterday evening.

The day had started much as Wednesday had. Mild, and the birds were singing again (Indeed, a Robin was still singing as we left the local supermarket at 8pm that evening after the incident I'm about to describe).

One Blue Tit had gone a whole step further and declared the nesting season officially open. Furniture was being re-arranged in the nest box outside our office.


I fear he may have jumped the gun on this, a glance at the long range weather forecast shows a dip in temperature back below freezing could be on the cards for the weekend.

Couldn't get out and about much during the day so I thought I was going to miss out on any Dee birding action. Not so!

As I saddled up in the fading light at the end of the working day I could hear the sounds of the waders on the shore. High tide was not long before knocking off time but was not a particularly big high tide so there must have been a bit of mud left exposed and the birds had carried on feeding.

I thought I'd check it out on the shore before zooming homewards. I was glad I did.

It was very dark when I hit the beach, so much so that I thought I'd made a bit of a mistake coming down as I couldn't really see where I was walking and feared taking a tumble on the rocks.

It was hard to establish where the edge of the tide was but it was clear that there were hundreds, possibly thousands of birds feeding there. The sounds were amazing.

The air was still so they noise carried easily to my ears. I could hear the chattering of Black-tailed Godwits, the "choo" of the assembled Redshank and the occasional "preeeep" of some Dunlin. The background to all of this was the wet spattering of all these birds stitching the mud with their beaks in an effort to find food. It was an amazing thing to experience.

The lack of light seemed to amplify the sounds, a bubbling call of a Curlew came from far off to add to the atmosphere. The Oystercatcher were still as loud and angry as ever. After a while Canada Geese went honking over towards the marsh, I could hear their noisy wingbeats too. There were the quick whipping sounds of duck wings overhead too, pitch black now so couldn't identify what they were. I was sat there thinking how brilliant this was not noticing the time.

I can also hear the dull rumble of the traffic on the Welsh side of the estuary where the only light is coming from. Still points are lampposts along roads, moving ones are cars save for one curious one that I think was a train?! The binoculars, redundant until now, sweep across the hillsides opposite and I can pick out individual cars on the roads. People on the way home too, I'm sure my journey beats theirs. I'd pick the massed ranks of feeding waders over a million drive time radio shows. Cars turn off main roads and I watch as tail lights fade to black as they disappear on to side streets and that's how Buffalo Tom came into the equation.

I've always been fond of the odd willdlife driven nocturnal reconnoitre but have stuck to the classics like owls, bats and badgers. I'll be doing an evening estuary watch again as soon as possible, and I'd recommend anyone else to try it, you might even catch a glorious sunset for the birds to soundtrack....



I jump on the bike and head home humming "Tail lights Fade" reflecting on another magic Dee moment.

1 comment:

  1. Luvvly stuff matey :) And congratulations - you have become a blogaddict like me :D

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