Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Argenmündung (mouth of the river Argen)

The lake and sky both lie grey and still, sound melting into the mist to leave the day near-silent along the shore. Even the troop of Black-headed Gulls at the river mouth are subdued, preening and chuckling to one another quietly.

A collection of larger than usual stones on the islet resolves into a loafing flock of Goosander, the males' salmon-white bodies blending with the stones just as well as the females' grey. They slide seamlessly into the water as we approach, gliding nonchalantly around the islet, keeping a safe stretch of water between us. The heron standing head sunk into its shoulders on the end of the islet turns a pale yellow eye in our direction, then returns to its study of the water, almost with a contemptuous sniff.

Here and there on the lake, Great Crested Grebes float sleepily, white topped with a swirl of black, curled up like some sugared pastry. Amongst them some Black-necked Grebes dive for fish, spreading circlets of ripples to lap gently on the stones.

A willow has been toppled into the river, it and a pile of fresh orange-tinted chippings on the shoreline beneath are testament to the presence of beavers. Fresh tracks of paws and tail in the mud suggest the tree was felled last night.


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