The stake out

A few months back I posted about this place.

I've been back a few times.  Last time, I took my mum, and we saw Eider ducks.  That's what they take eider down from?  Sh*t the bed.  We were walking back over the dunes after drinking tea at Gullane point, and I saw the wingspan of a huge bird in the brush, just for the briefest of seconds.  Initially I thought a buzzard, but it then flew clear, and we saw an owl.  She said Barn, the internet says Short Eared.  We saw another two later, mock fighting/courting? in mid air, in broad daylight.  Those things are enormous.  Holy smoke, its another world.  After that, the pellets on the ground, and the tiny, petrified remains of bones and fur on top of fence posts make a whole lot more sense.

All this is new to me, I'll confess.  I'm from South London, which is pretty owl light and concrete heavy.  Where's my education now?  I know my hz from my khz, how to write a project proposal, and how to cycle across the Elephant and Castle roundabout system without getting smashed to a bloody pulp by a bendy bus.  I can even backpack with the best of them, but I'm mostly still at sea here.  Being out is one thing, knowing what I'm out in is another.

So, I am going back.  Each time I go back I see more.  This time, a hare and a roe deer.  Oh, and I went back to those strange blocks - tank traps, sea defenses from world war two apparently.  I'm sort of fascinated with the blocks, I'd like to try and photograph them properly, one day.  They sit in the sand dunes nicely I think, but the sea buckthorne makes them a real pain to get into a good position for the right angle.  Every shot I tried with the blocks has failed dismally so far. 

This time, I got a lot more familiar with the coast in both directions out from Gullane.  The dunes are incredible.  They rise and fall like miniature mountains, fun sized.  And the colours.  Brunettes, fawns, reds, blues and greens.  Its going to be next to impossible to do it any kind of justice at all.

At dusk the entire place goes utterly mental.  It kicks off, really.  Birds and insects chatter away at the tops of their voices.  The maram grasses that bind the sand together swoosh in the sea breeze.  It's an orchestra of sound, I feel like joining in and howling.  Nothing short of a technicoloured sonic miracle.  What have I been missing all this time?

I want to keep visiting, and learning.  I took the larger tripod this time, and a filter system.  I haven't used a filter before, or a tripod in about 15 years.  I feel a bit silly carting all that around, its a bit of a pose, surely?  But the extra gear also means I slow down, and see more.  So, I am going to take my camera stuff each time and use it as a excuse to keep looking.  And learning.   Next time, it should be an overnight stay.  I could even go from work and be back in the morning, no problem.

Slow down, and keep looking.  I just need to find the story.


Loving this lot at the moment, they are highly melodic.  Anyone who can play an arpeggio that well that fast for that long is allowed to gurn all he wants far as I'm concerned.  Drummer is killah too.   Silly name but at least its not some walking haircut with a cut glass English accent thinly disguised by singing in cockney.  At least they don't wear the stuff.