A few Snow Buntings have made the onerous journey from the Arctic to Crow Point, North Devon. Today there was a harsh frost, temperature minus four, so they may have wondered why bother? Nevertheless a brilliant clear, bright morning, with wraiths of mist gently rising off the River Taw and Torridge estuary and frost lying white, coating the dunes with tiny ice crystals. Then typical of this Biosphere in a few moments, a sharp, freezing wind kicked up and the landscape changed from blue to grey as a heavy mist rolled in from the sea. The surf, at low tide, some half a mile away.. invisible, yet still heard, loud, Atlantic waves, at least ten degrees warmer than the air, the cause of this pea souper. Out of the gloom, random and abstract, a runner, miles from any where..
Then we saw the Snow Buntings, squat, fat little creatures, hunched against the cold, feeding on frozen seed heads in the short Burrows grass. Flitting suddenly to another station, a flash of white and they are gone.
Overlooking the wild Atlantic coast it is never easy to forget the savage beauty of the ocean or the calm sunset of a still day.
For a while I have been focussing on other photography projects but this evening I slung the lovely old Fuji Xpro 1 over my shoulder with XF18mm attached and set off along the sand. Dusk comes slowly here in North Devon. The light hangs in the air, there is a glow, cast from the sand and the sea, reflections of gold and blue. Today not a cloud in the sky, a faint mist already drifting across the sand-hills, everything calm. Around me feeding on the shoreline, Oystercatchers and Egrets, Sandpipers and Sanderlings. The haunting cry of the Curlew echoes across the River Taw. Sometimes it is awe inspiring, sometimes you have to look out and look up, how can this magic be here for me, yet others, far away suffer oppression and tyranny? So for today I whisper a quiet thank you.
Here in North Devon, where the cool Atlantic ocean meets the green combs of Exmoor, two broad rivers run into the sea. Either side of the estuary stretch mile after mile of yellow sand and dunes, a protected area, where sheep and ponies on one side roam and the other where nature takes it’s fine course. And spanning the broad river Torridge a great bridge, twin to the ancient one that has existed for ten centuries at Bideford port, the Little White Town. If you should rise early one morning, when the sea fret is drifting along Bideford Bar and make your way alongside the Tarka trail, you will find the mist spread across the bay and river.