Sunday 11 July 2010

Black-Heads and Beauty Spots

The sky is clearing after several days of filthy weather. We had some brief respite yesterday before another deluge overnight and into this afternoon. It's easy to forget how stunning the outlook is when it's shrouded in grey but now the green foothills of the mountains are again lit by shafts of watery sunlight, and the beauty is revealed afresh.

The Skuas seem to enjoy the grey weather and have been staking out a rock in the centre of the bay whenever the tide is in around it. I'm assuming that this is because the grey weather is good for cover when they are hunting and that they prefer the high tide as they always attack over water.

More avian interest on the shore today: We spotted out first Black-headed Gull (pictured). They are really quite petite compared to Common Gulls, which we get in some numbers. It was accompanied by a grey-speckled juvenile of the same species.

My wife also saw several Gannets circling off the headland. She's been admiring their rapier-like fishing technique: They "stoop" like raptors from considerable height then pierce deep water at breathtaking speed to snatch their unsuspecting (presumably) and unfortunate (definitely) prey.

Makes me question, somewhat, the appropriateness of the saying "eats like a Gannet", as once or twice levelled at me. I assume my mother wasn't referring to my lightning speed and skill at the dining table.

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