6 March 2019

· Wirral ·

What would have been Mum’s 82nd birthday.

I’m sitting in my car, overlooking the Dee Marshes at Gayton. It was raining heavily when I arrived, so I got on with some work. After I’d been here about an hour, the rain suddenly stopped and the sun came out. From uncomfortably cold to uncomfortably hot in five seconds flat. I got out the car to remove some layers and cool down. The sunshine had worked its magic: skylarks burst into song from various locations above the marsh. Sometimes seasonal transformations can be very rapid indeed.

It soon clouded over again, and the skylarks settled down. I got back to my work. After another hour or there about, I looked up to see a small bird of prey gliding past, low and fast. It landed on a post about 100 metres away. A male merlin! Slate-grey back, russet nape and breast, yellow legs and talons. What a thrill! Too far away to photograph, unfortunately. It stayed there for about five minutes before being chased off by a carrion crow, which added insult to injury by commandeering the post. It was only on seeing the crow perched on the same post that I truly appreciated just how small male merlins are: not much bigger than blackbirds.

Now it’s pissing down again. Time for some work. (Who am I kidding?)

Rain over Wales

By Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Website · Facebook · Twitter · Newsletter · Book

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