Monday, 30 November 2009
"A Deadly Vessel" - A colony of Goose Barnacles high and dry after recent storms, stinks of death © Glyn Davies 2009
I raced for the coast this evening. The light was intense, the sun was out, mostly, and the sea was calling. I had just an hour or so before sundown so headed for the west coast of Anglesey. Fantastic, there was no one there, peace! As soon as I left the van I could hear the Oyster-catchers calling to each other across the cove. A huge Heron took off from nearby rocks and landed not so far away on the reef instead. Turnstone's raced across the beach and rocks ahead of the incoming tide.
In the distance, a bank of clouds was looming but the sun was still bouncing across the small waves, the big seas unusually being on the North of the Island today. It was still cold however, the first time I've felt cold this winter. I had my Rab Neutrino jacket AND my Rab Down jacket on tonight and I enjoyed their comfort and warmth. I headed for the South Western reef and found myself smiling at the amazing rocks there, fascinated once again by the fact that every time you visit somewhere on this small island, there are ALWAYS new discoveries to be made.
That said, I crouched down amongst the rocks and watched the waves lollop over the rocky barriers and took a few frames but rapidly stopped. I was so much more in love with the loneliness and the emptiness tonight than the ability to repeat yet more low wide angle shots of the sun going down over the shore, well certainly tonight without the drama of big waves.
I just gathered my kit and started to walk. On the beach, right on front of me, dead but beautiful, fascinating in it's death, was an ultramarine blue Crayfish (maybe it's a lobster I'm no expert) but I was totally fascinated. This creature of the lagoon was perfectly arranged on the sandy patch of white sand. I didn't want to use the big camera but I did want to record it, to show you! so I used my iPhone instead. Here is my dead crayfish/lobster:
I left it where it was and continued my walk, dropping down into rocky gullies in the now darkening evening. I crunched my way along pebbly beaches and in and out of short but deep caves, fascinated by the effects of the sea, just water, yet so powerful. The birds were not scared of my presence tonight and other herons and Oystercatchers continued their food vigil unconcerned. The sea was even calmer now and the tide was gently, slowly easing it's way up the tight gullies, forcing itself into every dark crack, resistance was futile! The light was now really dropping and the air was chilling rapidly. I decided to go over one further headland and in crossing it I discovered another beautiful death - a shimmering multi coloured coat of feathers hardly rustling in the gentlest breeze, the lapwings eyes still open and still intact. I had never really seen just how stunning the colours of a Lapwings markings are. Again I felt sorry that it was dead, no matter how natural it may be.
And within 20 feet, I noticed on the reef, an enormous tree trunk covered in another impressive looking coat, until on closer inspection I could smell it, dank, salty, pungent and of death. It was covered in Goose Barnacles, a whole intense colony of them, lifted out of it's long time sea home by recent storms, and now left high and dry, to die, here on the uppermost flanks of the reef.
Information about this species was provided by Dr Rohan Holt, Marine Biologist at Countryside Council for Wales
I used the big camera again for this shot, for it was more to do with the size and location of this finding, within the chilling landscape. In the failing light I tentatively picked my way back through puddles and mud, through kissing gates and down across the Crayfish beach, so dark now I couldn't even find him if I tried. Finally, and in the moonlight, I picked my way through sparkling puddles and saw the roof of my van glinting in a lunar glow. As I stood next to the van I could still hear the occasional call of an Oyster Catcher but then the roar of jet engines, practising their manoeuvres in the night sky. My own lights went on, darkness was over and warmth flooded the interior and warmed my core. A surreal but wonderful evening.
All words and images are strictly copyright © Glyn Davies 2009
FLICKR Photostream HERE
AMAZON sales HERE