|far distant waders|
|some sort of weather event in Wales|
After a wild and windy solstice the weather today was glorious. Well, for December anyway. Blue skies (some of the time) and hardly any rain. I took the boys back to the river.
When I was little people would always be complaining about the mud along the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel. But it's this wonderful mud together with the huge tidal range that makes the area a unique and important place for wildlife. It's teeming with organisms that attract a vast array of birds and fish. Apparently 100 species of fish and 260 species of birds. Waders and waterfowl are particularly common here. The biggest boy saw all sorts today; wigeon, little stint, oystercatchers, dunlin, a purple sandpiper and a couple of Brent geese to name a few.
What may at a glance appear to be acres of unappealing mud is in fact an internationally important site, vital for overwintering birds, and also a Site of Special Scientific Interest amongst other designations. More than 85,000 birds spend the winter on the estuary, and there are many passing migrants as well. The more I learn about the area, the more I love it and am amazed by it.
The middle boy was happy there too, as the tide was coming in and fishermen were about. We found someone who'd caught a dab, and we chatted to them all and picked up a few tips in readiness for him becoming a fisherperson himself.
The littlest boy took his scooter and zoomed around in his usual high energy fashion. He'd been promised a fire on the beach and toasted marshmallows. We lit the fire just as the sun set. The driftwood was fairly damp and took a bit of persuading, but it took in the end, just enough for marshmallow toasting. The best bit of the afternoon was when the tide came in at the end and washed into the fire. Doesn't get much better than that when you're seven and a half. He told me several times that it was one of his best days ever. Me too sweetie, me too.
As we left, lights were on over the other side of the bridge and newly arrived fishermen were settling in for an evening's fishing, hoping for cod I think. If you go a bit deeper than a first glance, this landscape of mud is really rather magical.
While I'm passing I shall take this opportunity of wishing you all an excellent Christmas. I'll see you on the other side. CJ xx