I’m back on home turf and in the current time zone for today’s wildlife squares. They were snapped in the Linden Field earlier in the week during a sudden spell of dry weather. Everywhere I looked along the Windmill Hill perimeter there were grey squirrels scurrying, nibbling, delving, tail whisking, scooting up and down the big oak trees. Acorns, acorns acorns – the big autumnal stuff ‘n store imperative in action. Squirrels being kind to themselves.
Topi can be found across Africa in various local races or subspecies. They also look like Coke’s hartebeest, but are distinguished by their handsome damson coloured thigh patches – very fetching on their chestnut coats. The males are keen on showing themselves off by posing on top of termite mounds – keeping an eye on their females (usually 10-15) and showing would-be rivals that they are on the look-out.
Square Tops #4 Becky has a very special ‘square top’ this morning.
So that was two things that had never happened before: to wake up this morning to find the nation was in lockdown and then to see a red-legged partridge atop the garden shed. Well I ask you: a partridge on the old privy roof. How odd is that. Given the choice, partridge are usually ground-hugging birds, more inclined to run than fly whenever threatened. They even make their nest on the ground. In any event, I have never seen either the birds or their nests in our vicinity before.
So it struck me as an irony that just as we humans were being ordered to isolate and stay indoors, here was this bird breaking bounds, and elevating itself in order to advertise readiness for a spot of socializing. Much scanning of the field and earnest calling then ensued. It anyway gave me plenty of opportunity to take these photos. I do hope it finds a willing mate to make a nest with.
It was hard to tear myself away from Tregwynt Mill; unexpected burst of hot September sun or no, there was a strong inclination to curl up among Welsh tweed quilts and cushions on the showroom bed. To distract myself from wool-lust I suggested we walked down to the sea. It’s not far, I tell Graham, he who too often suspects me of total map-reader-error. I was surprised when he agreed.
We followed the course of the stream that had once powered several mills in the valley. The lane was bosky, enclaves of deep and mossy shade, then sudden sprinkles of sunlight through sycamore, ash and alder. There were old walls, built in the local style of vertically laid stones wherein strap ferns and pennywort had found a root-hold.
After about half a mile we found the sign to the coastal path, and almost at once, there we were, looking down on Abermawr beach. The cove itself was sparse in humanity, and we found out why when we got down there. The pebbles were so heaped up and huge they were almost impossible to walk over. Most people were passing by, following the cliff trail that crossed at the back of the cove. We perched on some rounded rocks and tried to locate the source of the strange barking calls to seaward. And then we saw it. And it saw us. And in between sunning its face, it watched me taking its photo. Nor was it alone. Its partner (parent perhaps) was somewhere out in the bay, doubtless doing some fishing, but whenever it returned to the cove it did not seem keen to show much of itself.
And so a chance walk proved to be one of life’s blissful moments, a piece of happenstance that won’t be forgotten, sitting by a blue sea, under blue sky, dreamy warmth, blue coastline of Llyn Peninsula barely there on the sea-line, and now and then meeting the eye of a sun-bathing seal.