Early shifts

With highways work on Marine Drive between Hesketh Road and Marshside Road shutting the carriageway down for the next 12 weeks, someone had to be tasked with daily surveys to ensure the project did not disturb wintering Pinkies on the seaward side of the road…
Who could be found daft enough to take on the 7-8am survey/count each day I wonder???
On the upside the marsh is always a great place just before dawn, when many of the geese are setting off on the daily commute to the hinterland and as spring approaches I must stand a chance of connecting with something unusual (a Great White Egret fly-by was good yesterday, although a common sight now of course)…
This morning’s best sighting was a Stoat in full winter ermine – snow white apart from the black tip of its tail – I have seen them like this locally before, but it has been a long time since I last encountered one.
At first I thought the beast was a bit of rubbish blowing in the wind in the half light before dawn, then I realised it was moving into the wind and got my bins on it south of the Sandplant.
It was pretty much pitch dark and raining at 0730, but I couldn’t resist a record blur – the white blob on the right is the beast weaving and bouncing through the vegetation, honest…

I reflected on the effectiveness of being bright white when hunting in a green and brown environment.
Perhaps Stoats ain’t so smart after all.
Then again I was the one counting geese in the pre-dawn February murk.
As the rain sluiced down the windscreen I watched the Pinkies heading inland, and started counting down the weeks to Wheatear…

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