Last Friday I took another trip out to Gibraltar Point, conscious that the building of the new visitor centre must now be well advanced. I was not wrong. The weather was unseasonably fine and sunny all the way there but, as is often the case, the point was shrouded in sea mist when I arrived.
Undaunted I took some shots of the visitor centre development from the car park on my much-derided and battered Nokia mobile, then dropped in to the temporary shop and café. I was working on the theory that the mist would clear as there was an offshore wind blowing. It seemed a fair gamble, having driven all the way there.
This strategy turned out well. Not only did I benefit from a welcome cuppa and a chokky muffin, but also from a chat with the two Wildlife Trust volunteers looking after the place, whom I recognised from previous visits to the former centre, now demolished following the sea-surge of December 2013. They are looking forward to the new centre of course after camping out in the car park, and their best guess is that it should be ready by Easter.
We also chatted about the pros and cons of volunteering, and I picked up a story about a dissatisfied visitor. He complained “So where all the animals then? After all, it’s supposed to be a nature reserve isn’t it?” Volunteers always have the best stories.
While we were chatting the mist did start to clear, so I ventured out across the marshes to see if I could get some more shots in sunlight, from a better angle. I could really do with a proper camera with a telephoto lens of course, (I do have a tripod!) but these days I have to make the best of what I have. Here’s the best of the bunch:
Compare this architect’s projection, albeit viewed from a different angle:
I was rather surprised that there were so few visitors about, given the fine weather, but a lady carrying a birdwatching telescope and tripod did ask me, out there on the marshes, if I had seen any signs of the pallid harrier. Well, it’s that the kind of place I guess. I politely replied that I would not know one if if I saw one, and she took it on the chin.
Of course I looked it up later; only 93,100 hits on Google but the top listing is the Wikipaedia article, probably the best bet for non-birdwatchers anyway. When I got back to the car park, one of the ladies I had spoken to earlier in the café confirmed that there had indeed been sightings of a male juvenile pallid harrier the week before. I do like a happy ending.