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August 31st- stormy seas, ammonite fossil, swifts and house martins

A break near Whitby over the weekend and my first chance to paint the sea since March. Gales overnight Friday and well into Saturday produced some dramatic waves at Sandsend. We enjoyed watching fulmars and sandwich terns close in. Majestic great backed gulls made light of the conditions and were spectacular to see against storm grey sky and sea. A party of teal hugged the coastline as they passed east to west. Our hands were soon numb in the relentless northerly blast.

On Sunday in calmer, but still cold conditions, we walked the beach to see what we could find. About ten minutes in Tolly and I simultaneously spotted a stunning ammonite fossil at the water’s edge. We yelled out loud at the same time! What a find, probably aided by the big waves that churned up the beach the day before and a real treasure to remind us of this time. The weather was autumnal in every respect. Copious amounts of rain at the end of last week followed by very high Northerly winds and then, last night our first ground frost this side of the summer solstice and probably the earliest I can remember.

Our house martins continue to incubate. I inspect the ground below the nest daily for the eggshells which would tell of freshly hatched chicks. After a very cold start today has been still and warm. Good conditions for the martins who were joined by a pair of swifts which still seem to be feeding young in the village hall. We have another pair of martins in a nest box on the back of the house, occupying a nest but not breeding, reminding me very much of non breeding swifts. This pair has been in the nest box since around 7th August. I presume that if they survive they will return to breed next spring?

 

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