Sunday, 15 September 2013

Of the blue colour of the sea & sky....

Back on the Patch for this post.

Just one picture accompanies this story and it is not a particularly fine one, but it is how I arrived it that is important (to me at least).

The heatwave was at its height, the mercury rising past 30 degrees. It is hot enough as I walk over to Hilbre at silly o'clock with the incomming tide chasing me over the final few yards of sand.

I'm cut off from the mainland and the madness of the school summer holidays is now blissfully remote.

I'm after some pictures of terns. I have a chance of seeing Common, Arctic, Sandwich and Little on the island and having the island to myself I can spend the next few hours with the birds and birds only.

I head to the far end of the island, to the old lifeboat slip and climb the cliffs to the left of the derelict jetty.

Here I get to see the birds as they zoom past the end of the island between fishing waters and sandbank roosts. With the sun behind me I have a reasonable chance of getting a few decent pictures.

So I sit and swing the lens from side to side following the terns as the criss cross the deep blue sky before me. I try a few shots of them diving into the cobalt blue sea. The action is frenetic, dozens of birds are fishing and I end up a little dizzy from following the birds zipping here and there.

The sun is burning on my back, it is unrelenting, there is no shade here. The sun is arcing across a cloudless sky and there is no let up in the heat.

Eventually I have to retreat to the shade offered by the tall sandstone walls of the redundant lifeboat station.

I'm sweating, the heat is heavy and the air feels thick as I sit down on the floor. The stone is cool, a relief. I push first my left, then my right boot off my feet and peel off damp socks. I sip some luke warm water from a plastic bottle. I'm flagging a bit to be honest. I'm drained by the heat.

I look across the water to the beach. An Ashes inspired cricket match is in full swing, a donkey is traipsing up and down the sand with a series of underwhelmed toddlers on board. The ice cream stall is doing a roaring trade.

Everything is just too busy and feels flustered. I return my gaze to the sea, at least that is tranquil.

Then from the left a spot something on the surface of the water. It doesn't look like a seal, I bring up the binoculars and check it out.

On the silky, nearly flat calm surface of the sea is a piece of driftwood. Sat upon this log is a Common Tern.

It looks so utterly peaceful, like a lesson in relaxation. Textbook chilling out.

The tern is looking from side to side, just watching the world as it drifts slowly along on its log.

All of the frenetic, fracious, flustered action and the inescapable heat are banished in the pinnacle of calm I see through the binos.

I take its picture and decide I'm not going to see anything as cool as this for the rest of the day.

I pack up, follow the falling tide from the island and head home.

1 comment:

  1. I run a blog for Smestow Valley LNR. I have started a nature network to protect our patches and coordinate wildlife surveys. Please could you e-mail me at and I shall send you more information. Thank you. Regards, Chris Millward.