Anglesey · birds · chough · diary · Holy Island · ornithology · sea · South Stack · Ynys Mon

and I stood on the edge, 14th November 2016

….. and I stood on the edge of the sheer cliff it boasts with sheeracity with only the sea and  splintered rocks way far below to break a fall… my legs felt weak, uncertain whether to hold me up or let me go… such temptations never seem to bother the birds who soar and skim the nothingness sometime landing on the skinniest of earth and tufts of overhanging thrift…… an afternoon at South Stack on Anglesey after the night before storm that came and eventually ran away like a naughty child having muck-spread mischief….. a sky now was frayed enough to let a little blue through before the next front might and will slough its way in to make me beat another retreat… but for now I perch above the lighthouse almost way below as far as the sea but for a few metres on its sternly-held remains of a long-ago stack by an industrial bridge looking for all its design like the resting arm of a crane……… from out of nowhere the electro-screech not unlike the sound I’d make underfoot sliding down a slate scree but this came from two Chough…… black crows with red legs and bill, distinctive if not by appearance then by their effortless without-a-care aeronautical acrobatics in and out of the sea-hewn, weather-worn, spray-sprayed aforementioned cliffs……. they call as though to say, “look at what we can do… and you can’t”…….. and way above but early-spied by an assortment of Herring and Lesser black-backed Gulls is a Peregrine, its falcon high-pitch cries seemed to taunt a “catch me if you can…. or dare” over and over……. the fastest bird in the world knows how to push a gulls buttons…….. around the tip of the lighthouse stack and a ‘paddle‘ of kayaks appear in the green-churned waves keeping cautious distance from the rocks which constantly threatens to pull them in….. rather them than me….. but then again I’m up here, way up in their high above precariously balanced on wobbly legs…….

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