Birds, boggles, lambs and foxes – nature column by Wendy LeVoi

Brn THIS afternoon I was surprised to see a barn owl hunting over the boggles,in brilliant sunshine; surely this is another sign of climate change affecting our wild life.

I watched in disbelief as it hovered ever closer to the ground, totally oblivious to our presence on the embankment until it decided to fly up towards us, stalling at the last minute and banking off in a seaward direction as huge brown eyes met mine.

I wonder how it manages to see its prey in these bright conditions?

Green plastic now surrounds the picnic bench and the area around it, as the developers plan their next move.

Last week the sea was as calm as a mill pond, the tide was high, and the breakers were rolling gently onto the shore.

Common ringed plovers idled the hours away by the waters edge, whilst groups of aptly named sanderlings chased the waves back into the sea, taking off at intervals in one perfectly synchronised group to skim the glittering water before coming to land further along the shore.

Today Braystones beach is an altogether different place, with the tide out as far as it can go, revealing an ancient world of stones, with Black Combe straddling the southern horizon.

Today it is almost White Combe, being liberally sprinkled with snow, with the village of Seascale looking for all the world like a mountain village, nestling cosily beneath it. Strange how I never saw this side of my village when I was growing up.

Returning via the railway bridge I notice what looks like a small fox lying in the shallow waters of the Ehen.

But it is a little lamb, which must have been washed down the river from the nursery fields. Sadly it didn’t survive, though it was lying as if asleep on the river bed by the railway tunnel.

My spirits lifted again further along the embankment, when a siberian chiff chaff {YES!!} came into view in my binoculars.

These birds are a rare but regular visitor, arriving in early March, frequenting coastal bushes, willows and thickets near water.

This little chap sat on a fence post and chiff-chaffed away to its heart’s content.

There is a new picnic bench, where the old one had to be removed to complete the new drainage channel onto the boggles.

“How am I supposed to sit and have a picnic or spread out my Sunday papers on here?” complained a fellow rambler. You’d need to be an orangutan to reach it.”

Let’s hope it’s a temporary installation until a state of the art one can be made, preferably situated out of the wind, though that would probably mean it would be facing the new nuclear power station.

As I make my way home I watch a kestrel in the distance, hovering high in the sky over the boggles, wings beating ten to the dozen to sustain its position.

Words cannot express how I feel too, to be free like that kestrel, to roam through this wonderful coastal landscape that is linked so closely to the land of lakes and mountains on the horizon.

To lose it, even a bit of it, to my mind would be a terrible travesty.