Portchester Castle. A very smart near complete Roman, Saxon, Norman fortress, with nice church, located along the northern edge of Portsmouth Harbour. Scene of many 1970's Pompey vs Spurs teenage footie encounters and a great place for a New Year's walk to blow away the cobwebs and give the liver a chance to rest.
A few others were also out walking, most attached to leads with dogs on. The light was slate grey and flat, but to our delight the mud exposed by a low tide was wader-filled. Curlew, oystercatcher, dunlin, redshank and turnstone, all busied themselves along the shoreline in search of food, seemingly oblivious to our close proximity.
All the time we walked and watched we were accompanied by the 'cronking' sound of contented brent geese. Also feeding out on the harbour and in good numbers to boot.
By the time we returned, the tide had risen, surrounding the castle on two sides like an invading force of nature. Carrying with it a small group of red-breasted mergansers (a species I had been keen to study last year and had failed miserably). Normally they are an active bunch, prone to energetic bouts of display. Today however the 'tattyheads' seemed content to reflect the flat atmosphere and simply loafed around on the sea. As we watched, an unseasonal sandwich tern made several fly-bys, it made a few unsuccessful plunges into the water for fish before moving on - and so did we.
A life enhancing tip for you. Take careful note...... If you are ever tempted to watch the film 'Knowing' with Nicolas Cage - DON'T! I'd rather poke myself in the eyes with a blunt stick for two hours than endure that load of rubbish again.
If you're expecting words of wisdom from Dan and Rosemary you may be sadly disappointed. However, if you want to keep up to date with our current projects then pick up the feed at the top of this column.