So I go to the beach at Gronant where it’s wide and wild and I might see little terns.
I’m welcomed by a choir of skylarks. Their endless song is too sweet to be compared to a footy anthem. I pass ponds that shelter newts and natter jack toads, swallows swoop over rippling grasses and I feel like Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road as I follow the boardwalk towards the sea. Pyramidal orchids glow either side of the boardwalk like the solar lights along my garden path and blue-grey sea holly is about to burst open, providing a sweet feast for red and black burnet moths.
Then I hear the familiar high-pitched creaky chatter and I look up to see a little tern flapping jerkily above me, luminous and glowing in the white hot sun. I love these little birds, they’re feisty for their size and with black zorro masks they seem to slice up the sky. And they need to be feisty, during their short breeding season, they have to contend with crows, gulls, foxes and high tides. The warden is out doing nest counts, he says they’re doing OK but there’s a kestrel around causing problems.
Today the tide is far out and the birds have a long way to go to find food. I watch one fly back from the frothy sea with a tiny silver fish in its beak. But distance is no problem for little terns; they fly 4000 miles from the West Coast of Africa to nest here every year.
Escorted by creaking little terns, I make an epic journey of my own, all the way down to the sea to paddle. The sun burns my ears and the wind ruffles my hair and when I eventually arrive at the water’s edge, the shenanigans in Brazil seem far, far away....