Next day, a friend and I explored Duddon Sands as the sun showed the architecture of the dunes of Sandscale Haws and trails of mist hung over the Lake District Fells. We heard curlew, redshank, oystercatcher. Birds were feeding out in the estuary, until flocks took wing, twisting and turning through the light. The tide was far out. I remembered displays at Furness Abbey telling of all those who drowned crossing the sands. Cockle pickers were out there digging. A large fork was stuck abandoned in the sand. David tried it out- and put it back. Commemorated by a notice from National Trust warden Neil Forbes is a minke whale that became stranded here and is buried in the sand and shingle below the dunes.
My friend hunkered down with a child’s tiny spade and began to dig a trench, scooping out sand and creating a wall. Trump’s Wall – was that what he said? The wind drowned him out and there was an unspoken veto on dwelling on bad news. Anyway, the incoming tide would wash the wall away.
I was a member of Bristol Ornithological Club before I came to live in Cumbria. It's a prestigious club and I learnt lots on outings and holidays, and made good friends- some with connections to the BBC Natural History Unit. Coming to Cumbria, I had to find and identify birds for myself- slower but probably more satisfying.