Little Terns and Sea Holly: three summers at Gronant Dunes
I spent three summers visiting Gronant Dunes, Denbighshire, the only nesting site in Wales of these protected birds and kept a diary of my time there, as well as sketching them. The birds are tiny, beautiful, fascinating, annoying, sometimes aggressive (when their nests or young are threatened) out of all proportion to their size. They come for a packed three months, during which they mate, nest, hatch young, then train these young the rudiments of flying and fishing before they set off again for their over-wintering grounds in West Africa. I was so interested in their story that I followed them there, and a section of the book describes their life under warmer skies, and the other creatures they share it with. The book includes many watercolour illustrations.
Here is a taster of some of the watercolour illustrations:
This fine specimen is trying to tempt a potential mate with a tempting morsel. The women are quite choosy however:
Like little terns, puffins are dependent on sand eels:
In West Africa, as well as terns of all sizes and amazing birds, there are a rainbow array of crabs – this is one of the red and white ones found in the Mangrove Swamps