It was early Tuesday morning and the landscape was muffled by a dense layer of fog but there was magic happening in the fields, amongst the plants, as the power of fog droplets illuminated the industrious efforts of the spider kingdom.
The fog was so thick this morning that I could hear the fog horns blasting out their warnings to shipping using the Bristol Channel. So, I figured I’d go for a local wander and see what photos opportunities I could find. Trees in fog it was.
Fog! I woke to whiteness and the silence fog often seems to induce – perhaps the morning birds were so shocked by this sign of the coming winter that they forgot to sing. It was still early but I stomped along to Cosmeston, thinking migrating birds might have been forced down, unable to see clearly their routes south. I did locate one Spotted flycatcher but what really caught my eye were the beautiful webs, some designed by spiders but others perhaps by different small creatures, all dripping with tiny droplets of moisture.
birding, birds, birdwatching, black-headed gulls, British birds, Canada geese, Cardiff Bay, Coot, Cormorant, fog, Great Crested Grebe, little grebe, long-tailed tit, Moorhen, Mute swan, Pied wagtail, starling, walk around Cardiff Bay
Thick fog hung over Cardiff Bay as I set out on a round-the-bay circuit yesterday morning and, though the fog thinned as the day went on, the day remained grey. Still, never let it be said that grey is boring. Birds there were aplenty (and wildflowers, too … but that’s for tomorrow’s post).
This cormorant was enjoying a successful spot of fishing in the old Penarth dock area, though it was slim pickings for the three Little grebes around the corner in the River Ely.
All around the Bay, on almost every man-made structure and clump of rocks near the water, Pied wagtails bobbed, wagged and ‘chisicked’.
Coots were even more numerous, and an occasional Moorhen prospected along the shoreline.
As I was watching this Cormorant drying its wings, our peace and tranquillity was interrupted by the loud honking of a large skein of Canada Geese flying in from the west.
Where concrete and buildings dominate the shoreline and there’s a notable absence of trees, the birds have adapted and perch on tree-like things.
I saw perhaps half a dozen Great crested grebes around the Bay: I always admire how long they can stay underwater when fishing. Mute swans were more numerous. They are birds of such contrasts, looking anything but decorous when flaunting their glorious white bottoms as they feed, yet the picture of elegance when preening.
The most abundant came at the end of my walk. It was standing room only for the Black-headed gulls on the Barrage.
For those who don’t know Wales, the town I’ve just moved to, Penarth, sits on the northern shores of the Severn Estuary, which eventually becomes the Bristol Channel, which eventually becomes the Celtic Sea, which eventually becomes the North Atlantic Ocean, which is all to explain that Penarth is, essentially, a seaside town and therefore gets seaside-type weather.
Yesterday the whole area was shrouded in heavy, freezing fog and, as my flat is only about one kilometre from the water, as the seagull flies, I could hear the fog horns blasting all day. It may have been cold but it was actually quite wonderful and brought back happy memories of my years living near the harbour in Auckland, New Zealand, when I would also hear the horns on foggy wintery days. I was stuck indoors waiting on a delivery most of the day but, when that finally came late afternoon, I headed out for a quick wander. As I stood in the centre of this field, on the clifftops, the fog swirled eerily back and forth, sometimes blotting out this lone tree and the houses beyond, sometimes almost clearing. The fog was like a living entity dancing around me – it was just magical! I’m already looking forward to the next fog to come rolling in from the ocean.
I can see it coming. Rolling silently over the house roofs and tree tops from the south, where the sea lies, where the ocean roars. Slowly, gradually, the light grows dim, eerie, the sun’s rays weaker, unable to penetrate the gloom. Trees vanish, leaving mere ghostly outlines.
Sounds become muffled but, at the same time, strangely amplified. Voices echo, seem nearby yet, in reality, are hundreds of metres distant. Footsteps tap, tap, tap. Spectral figures appear, pass quickly by, disappear once more. Birds fall silent as if afraid to pierce the silence with their squawks, tweets, chirps.
Fog is everywhere, blanketing the lake, flowing along the brook, shrouding buildings, hovering over bushes, making branches droop, making hair frizz. Creeping tendrils wind their way through tree branches, wrap themselves around park benches, slither between railings. Fog makes throats choke and chests heave, and seeps into old bones.
On Roath Lake, the light-less lighthouse needs a light today and a horn to warn.