On High

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Gulls feast on ants’ flight

Wily crow, black spot of night

Blends into the light

~

n.b. On days as hot as these ants hatch and fly in millions, a boon to the scavangers of the coast and quick-witted corvids. How far they climb! How many are eaten? How many must be born and borne aloft to survive the insatiable gulls and crow?

CLP 17/07/2020

Day 19

After a night lit by the not yet full moon, a day of bright sunlight and a strong wind. This blow is hot and drying. It is relentless, like a wind that drives the locals crazy after weeks of it in Crete, or parts of southern Spain. It is not a wind to sit in. It makes people restless, as they seek respite from its nagging.

The hedge birds are also unsettled by this draining draught. They hurry about their business then retreat to sheltered boughs, or nests.

By late afternoon the temperature of the air has encouraged queen wasps to come out. Unmistakably large, they move slowly about in these unusually dry, warm hours in search of somewhere to establish a nest ready for the season of ripened fruit. They will settle down for the rest of Spring and early Summer before their small offspring start appearing looking for sweet food in the orchards and around picnic blankets.

Down on the shoreline the effect of the constant, strong blow on the sea surface is remarkable. The wind seems to flatten the natural motion of the waves like a huge hand smoothing a bedsheet into place on a mattress. There are suggestions of dips where in a bed the ticking would be buttoned tight to the padding. Here the constant movement of the sea over these hollows, this repeated smoothing of the briny sheet, becomes hypnotic. On reaching the beach the waves do not break; the following wind simply brushes each flattened roll up the shingle, as if it were a giant broom.

Turnstones seem unperturbed by the action of the sea. They sustain the quick rhythm of their pecking and picking at the stones whilst wandering heads down in a generally easterly direction. These birds are brown jacketed piece-workers with no time to socialise as they comb the tide line for tidbits.

The force and direction of the wind adds an exciting aspect to the flight of gulls. None travel upwind over the sea, they come inland and use the shelter of the banked shingle to make progress into the headwind. Yet, over the water the gulls, either singly, or in small flights, use the power of the breeze to good effect. They half-turn to gain height, then swoop to get full speed without having to flap their wings at all. A gull’s movement with the wind is all about small adjustments to the angle and tension in the wings and tail. Seeing birds fly so fast, so acrobatically without effort, is breath-taking.

The moon rises through the thin mist that blurs the horizon. It is a huge pock-marked, silvery plate, but still not full.

It’s been a long day. We’ve been busy for the sake of filling the hours. The Queen of England broadcasts a brief message that gives some perspective to the health crisis facing humanity. Similar messages have been broadcast by presidents and political leaders around the world in recent weeks. It is one worth hearing again; this time will pass.

We speak. We speak not of that future time, but of today’s accomplishments, what we have seen and learned. This is the time we have now.

CLP 05/04/2020

Crow

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Aloft on a waft

To drop mollusc on shingle

Did gulls teach or learn?

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n.b. It is fascinating to watch gulls and crows rise 3 or 4 metres on the breeze with the intention of dropping a shelled shore-dweller onto the pebbled beach repeatedly until the shell cracks open and the meaty interior is accessible. When I mentioned this to my step-father, Frank Hawes, I had presumed the seabirds got the idea first. He said, “Maybe the gulls copied the crows.”

CLP 03/01/2019

Seagull?

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You say you saw a seagull skimming through your dream?

I fear this is not possible, things are not quite as they seem.

There is not a thing as seagull, whatever others say

Seagulls are not the birds you see flying sweetly ‘cross the bay.

Take another look my friend and open up your mind

These birds are beautiful and varied, just like humankind.

Colours, size and patterns diverge to vast degree

They are more than simply seagulls, get closer and you’ll see

Wing markings, legs and beaks are all truely quite distinct

All individual characters, who stop to watch and think

Bonaparte, Black-headed, Herring, Yellow-legged and Common too

Glaucous, Iceland, even Laughing Gulls make fools of me and you

They, with many cousins, are not alike at all

Please do not just name them seagulls,  but listen to each call.

So next time you see seabirds whilst deep amidst your slumbers

Remember gulls,  like humans, are so much more than simply numbers.

In dreams they may be viscious, pecking out your eyes

In truth they are more complex, carrying lost sailors’ souls within their cries.

 

 

CLP 14/04/18

 

http://www.napowrimo.net prompt for Day 14, dream interpretation…”seagull.”