Sunday, 6 March 2016

A storm lit Peregrine

Yesterday was a cold day with grey sky's and a northerly wind blowing in frequent icy showers. Also a family day with kids swimming lessons and meals to prepare and supervise. But just after 4.30pm I felt a need to experience a bit of wildness and so I seized the opportunity offered by a gap in the weather for a walk under Hunstanton cliffs. 

When I got down onto the beach the first thing that struck me was the large numbers of slightly flighty Oystercatcher's feeding among the boulders on the tide line, these were noticeably focused on eating bivalves and I saw several with mussels and winkles in their beaks. 

Oystercatcher's Hunstanton Beach
As I watched the Oystercatcher's, Fulmar's like stiff winged crosses, glided effortlessly over the sea and across the face of the cliffs they will soon be nesting on.
Looking north along Hunstanton Cliffs and into the approaching storm

A curtain of rain back lit by the setting sun hung across the Lincolnshire shoreline of The Wash. To my north a slate grey sky gave an electric light to the horizon. And it was cold enough for me to be wearing gloves and swap my baseball cap for a warmer fleece hat.

An insouciant dog walker passed with his hounds which flushed the feeding waders and a small party of Brent Geese, creating for a moment or two a wheeling wind blown confusion of wings and bird calls. Looking up the grey sky to my north seemed closer. 

As the shorebirds settled I stood on a low boulder and picked out the unmistakable cigar shape of a Peregrine coming up from the south and over the sea heading towards me.  In the storm light as it powered its way into the wind effortlessly ahead of the ineffectually mobbing Herring Gulls its body glistened like Mercury.  

Then with the sun below the horizon and the storm upon me came the darkness and accompanying cold sharp rain.

The waters of The Wash and the sky above me were by now similar shades of dark battleship grey, the northerly wind on its own would have been bitterly cold but now this was amplified by the driving ice cold rain that was hitting me in the face. I'd had and savoured my wild moment and now I turned and strode with the wind at my back for home. 

The storm over me, Hunstanton Beach