Flaming June…

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For days and days and days – that felt like weeks and months and years – the dense Scotch mist had smothered the West Highlands of Scotland with a dark and exceedingly thick wet blanket. Algy had heard a distant rumour that this would be the hottest, sunniest weekend of the year to date… in the UK…

So, in the middle of the afternoon, in the middle of the year, Algy perched on a dripping fence post and studied the moss growing on top of the post in front of him. As most of the world had vanished, it was almost all he could see, but he was glad to discover that at least some things seemed to thrive in these conditions…

Flaming June, they call it.

Sea Fever

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The weather had changed and the day was bright, albeit with masses of grey clouds hurrying across the sky, but the wind was icy and much too strong for comfort, so Algy decided to spend some time looking back through his past adventures… and happened upon this GIF from early February two years ago, when conditions were evidently very similar…

And as the keen wind whistled through his feathers and froze the tip of his beak, Algy thought to himself:

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

[Algy is quoting the second verse of the famous poem Sea Fever by the early 20th century English poet John Masefield.]

In the dark, dismal depths of a West Highland January, Algy perched on the dripping branch of a young ash tree. The dense Scotch mist had not budged for three days, even though the wind was blowing vigorously, driving the tiny droplets of water into Algy’s eyes and deep among his feathers. It was only just around midday, but it looked like dusk, and the small part of the world that was visible at all looked dim and blurry in the low light. Tucking his wings more closely around him, Algy dozed limply in the damp, dreaming hopefully of sunnier climes where the world was full of colour and light and warmth…

For the PWS @photosworthseeing New Year Special “That One Moment” – with lots of very fluffy hugs to all Algy’s friends at PWS, and his fluffiest thanks to the PWS team for organising yet another wonderful event xoxo

Algy’s special moment of 2016 was back in July, on an unusually summery day. Algy made his way through a lovely patch of woodland to a beautiful lochan fringed with wild water lilies, where everything was peaceful, calm and sunny – a rare treat in the West Highlands of Scotland! And…

Algy hopped down to the water’s edge and perched on a clump of lush green grass. Leaning forward, he peered down deep into the blue water, trying to see whether he could spot a frog among the water lilies, but although he looked as hard as he could, there was no sign of his amphibian friends. Then suddenly he noticed a wee movement on the soggy ground beside him. Several tiny froglets were making their way clumsily towards the shelter of the grasses, their spindly legs stumbling over the matted roots. Algy wished them well, and hoped they would have a safe journey…

[Originally posted on 31st July 2016]

The weather was fine, the days were lengthening rapidly, and many summer visitors had arrived from other countries; they were dashing about all over the West Highlands, and Algy began to get itchy feathers watching them come and go about the place. So one fine morning he took off in search of new adventures, and it wasn’t long before he found himself on top of a wee hill some distance from home, looking out at the quiet loch and the hills beyond, over the tops of the trees with their beautiful bright new leaves…

Something peculiar had happened to the West Highlands… it looked as though somebody had been playing with their paintbox! After 24 hours of rain, the sun came out for a short while, and the landscape was immediately transformed.

Although it was blowing a gale, Algy hurried down to the burn, to watch the water surging through the low, twiggy branches of the bushes that trailed over it. The burn gurgled and foamed as it rushed along past him with enormous energy, evidently eager to return to the sea. Algy marvelled at the amazing capacity of the peat bogs to drain all the water away, and he lay back happily on last year’s bracken, listening to the burn and soaking up the rare winter sunshine while it lasted…