December 2009

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness has been well and truly blown away by the gales of the last few weeks. The seas have been mountainous and have dramatically changed many of our sandy beaches for months to come. The stone pavement under the centre of PendowerBeach has been exposed and it looks like most of the sand has ended up further east towards Portloe.

One of our favourite stretches of the coastline is the group small group of coves north of Porthcurnick beach along towards PorthbeanBeach. None of them are very wide, and most are partially blocked by high ramparts of barnacle encrusted rocks and gullies at the seaward end.

One we call HoundDogRockBay for reasons best illustrated by the attached photo. This area always provides rich pickings for driftwood that we collect and use to make lamp bases, decorative trees and other odds and ends. There are lobsters off the rocks and the waters teem with fish at various times of the year. Many of our coastal birds have had rich pickings on and off the beaches. The gales have blown many migrants off course (and the odd surfer!) and many pelagic species such as shearwaters, gannets (dozens of Gannets!) and even arctic skuas have all been pushed close to shore to find shelter.

Divers are back on several of the Roseland’s creeks and have joined with the occasional merganser and goosander to create wonderful spectacles. (No, not the sort you need to see the latest version of Christmas Carol – different spectacles entirely!)

But, the southerly winds do seem to have kept temperatures up all over the UK and there are still many mushrooms and fungi to be seen like these we spotted a few weeks ago. The mild weather means we are still waiting for significant numbers of fieldfares and redwings to appear.

As far as my wife is concerned they would be better waiting till after Christmas so she has chance to gather some of the glorious holly berries that are still so thick on the trees. This time last year a great crop of berries had all but disappeared by early December.

Even now the first harbingers of spring are out there – lambs appeared over on Messack Point very early in November, yesterday we found some wild garlic in flower and we even know where there are violets in flower!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and that you make the opportunity to get out into our glorious countryside.

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