Showing posts from December, 2014

Sunny year's end

Shoveler (Martin Kelsey) It feels that only now through the Solstice and Yuletide that winter is arriving, with frost now a regular morning experience and a nip to the otherwise gentle breeze. We are continuing to enjoy this long period of sunny, settled weather and as I stand facing north and the chill of the ground pushes against my boots, my back is soothed by the welcoming warmth of a steadfast sun. In front of me, gorgeously sheltered on placid water and no doubt relishing the gentle radiance as I am, are a myriad of dozing duck. Almost all are Shoveler. They sit, plump and motionless, the round white bows of the drakes appearing twice their normal size as the perfect mirrored water surface creates the illusion of a fusion between reality and reflection. This white form is then set strikingly against the mahogany brown of their sides and the black-green heads. The dressed-down females are mingled across the raft and almost all (ducks and drakes) set the same pose: hunched head

Rising above the fog

Common Cranes (Martin Kelsey) In minutes my environment changes; colour has gone, the sky has disappeared and the temperature has plunged, even sound now is muffled. I have become wrapped in a cold and grey fog, so heavy that if I focus my eyes I can see each tiny droplet of water held as the mist, floating and gently swirling. The great land mass of Iberia with high tablelands, criss-crossed by mountain ridges and holding watersheds of large rivers, coupled with frequent long periods of settled anticyclonic weather in winter all make for perfect conditions for fog, sometimes extending over vast areas, sometimes in curiously localised banks. The fog is more liquid than vapour, finding its level, filling up hollows, rising and falling like a tide, its defined border on the move as subtle changes happen to the air temperature as the sun takes its daily course. Where we live, on the Sierra de los Lagares, at about 600 metres above sea-level, we stand most of the time above the fog