A Dreich December Day at Lower Halstow

The sou’westerly blows hard and the cloud and drizzle drink the life from the coastal marshes and, usually picturesque, small boats squatting in the inlet on the wide expanse of rivened flats. Small numbers of redshanks and black-headed gulls potter across the mud, the redshanks perfectly camouflaged in soft grey.  Black arrows of Brent geese flyContinue reading “A Dreich December Day at Lower Halstow”

Oare and Conyer

The arctic winds across the marshes at Oare are killing and unkind, bending heads towards the frozen earth; but the Sunday morning promises a warming sun but only after a heathen slab of grey cloud has inched slowly away to the east. The high tide is falling and a dense flock of black-tailed godwits takes off from their island roost,Continue reading “Oare and Conyer”

Deserts of the Emirates

The endless dunes between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain are golden waves of lifeless sand, dead and uninviting. They are also increasingly defaced by power lines, pipes and water tanks and demarcated by endless walls and fences as tenure and utilisation are settled. They are still traversed by camels but now also four wheel drives with tyres flattened toContinue reading “Deserts of the Emirates”

Yas Island – A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Muddy Mangroves

Yas Island is one of the many great infrastructure projects in the United Arab Emirates, located close to Abu Dhabi airport and 10 miles down the highway from the city. In 2012, it already had a Formula 1 racing circuit, a huge red panini of a building called Ferrari World, hotels, marina and golf course andContinue reading “Yas Island – A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Muddy Mangroves”

Dungeness B

The dawn sky is a wash of saturated purple and vivid orange like an overdone postcard; the sunlight edges the curved hulls of the fishing boats, warms the waves of shingle to a russet and whitens the windows in the small wooden houses. The view just before sunrise. Boats, winches, sheds, containers, all manner of boxes; coils of rope,Continue reading “Dungeness B”

Bough Beech Reservoir’s Autumn Colours

The day is bright; clouds build in thick lines from the southwest and a fresh breeze blows over the bright water but these never quite overcome the warming autumn sun. Bough Beech Reservoir is observed from the low causeway with its gently shelving banks of concrete, softened over the decades by a spreading, soft carpetContinue reading “Bough Beech Reservoir’s Autumn Colours”

A Few Jars

The nightjars in the clear fells within the conifer forest are slowly being located. Late on a damp, cool night, heavy with cloud, suffocated by the humid air and an irritation of midges, we immediately find one of the four radio-tagged males. Tony knows he is likely to be sheltering the first brood, with the female somewhereContinue reading “A Few Jars”

Hinterland

The weather is uniform grey again in West Wales and the coast desolate and uninviting. This stretch of coast south of Aberystwyth was where the sad-eyed detective from the television series ‘Hinterland’ had his isolated mobile home. Beneath the long grass slope, the lively, lime green shoe-box looks out of place in front of theContinue reading “Hinterland”

Farewell Virpazar

On a chill morning in early March a fisherman puts out not long after dawn to set his nets, baling the icy water from the small boat as he meanders the flooded channel. Fishing is tough and incessant with scant rewards outside  of the short, summer tourist season. The fishermen work alongside herons, cormorants, grebes and egretsContinue reading “Farewell Virpazar”