6 o’clock sun
Burn, burn, burn, burn! With the advent of the Vernal Equinox, a constant battle takes place between sun and fog. Incessant duel between earth, air and sea. And yet, every time our star turns victorious, a beaten fog retreats, burnt out… The very first encounter took place last Sunday, as a defeated Haar allowed us to enjoy a very first evening of light till a lazy sunset and dusk. I never tire of those honey skies all around us.
Emerging from a cold and damp winter, I nearly forgot how an after 6 o’clock sun felt like. Quendale & Brake looked so serene in light blue. A quick run around that shallow Loch of Spiggie remains a must in early spring, and it did not fail to amaze us.
Yes, geese, Goldeneyes, Long-Tailed ducks and other seasonal wildfowl – including Whooper Swan, Red-breasted Merganser, Northern Lapwing, Teal, Wigeon, Shelduck, Moorhen, shalder and a grey heron – dwell on its edge. But somebody spotted the very first Bonxie of 2012 yesterday. So summer’s definitely on its way! All seabirds need fresh water to wash off seaspray off their feathers, as salt burns the very fabric of plumage, keratin. Damaged feathers will only make life difficult to a seabird, just as it does to our local population of otters. Any creature that feeds from our maritime world needs fresh water for survival.
Pirate spirit, moi?
Not many of us like bonxies on the island. Although they were once highly hailed by crofters as the liberators from the Erne – and the last pair of eagles were last seen in 1911 – great skuas have since replaced the then “evil” eagle, and has been associated with more modern & economic folk tales. They are amazing flyers and fishermen, when our sea feels generous. Moorland nesters, their varied food diet ensures survival. Furthermore, many of us also forget that bird colonies would be plagued with disease during summer, for they act as muckrakers, cleaning off ledges with ill, injured or dead seabirds. Every creature has a function on our planet, or they simply do NOT exist. People need to accept this simple fact. As a species, we may have placed ourselves at the very top of the food web, however, financial greed can lead some of us to abuse of our homeworld’s generosity and/or deplete the resources that are so vital to our healthy planet. The animal kingdom needs our help more than ever! Let’s be reasonable and the laws of the karma will be favourable to the future generations.
Back to sun stories
Longer evenings enable us to wander around the island till a later dusk, especially in the unusual clement climate we’ve experienced till yesterday! Folk walk around, go to the beach and tidy up their gardens.
On the first of our British Summer Time season, we ended up on my favourite sandbridge and marvelled at a pale blue world.
The surf was gentle at our feet and my other half showed an amazing mollusc he found partly uncovered at the edge of the Atlantic: Arctica Islandica . Amazing find!
As the sun dipped below our horizon, the edge of our world turns blue…
The other end of day, I caught a bloodshot sun through the lens of my pocket camera, as we do not see very often. Our northern sky was filled with a uniform of grey but then, an unusual glowing red sun appeared amidst clouds from the front and I stopped the car to admire such spectacle. I trust other folk stopped on a passing place… It was awesome.
And as we are now reverting to a much more typical early spring spell for our latitude, I can only hope that this arctic moment will not last too long, and be kind to our much precocious spring. Our grass needs a first cut and birds begin to nest. It is no April fool.
Looking forward to the return of our closest flamboyant star :-).