Track 1. Sunbiggin Tarn, Howgill Fells, Cumbria. 17/7/17. 4:30:5:10am
Near Orton, south of Penrith off the M6 (junction 38). Into the moors you come to Sunbiggin Tarn. A largish tarn with many birds; apparently more in winter, but today had its own special interest: there were hundreds of swallows ascending, dancing in the sky, descending; all the while making their unique little noise. They almost sound like insects.
Also mixed in are some warblers, ducks, geese, pheasant, curlew (picture below) rooks, crows, sheep. Many others; perhaps pipits. There is some distant road noise; even at 4:45am the M6 is busy and the mountains aren’t enough to keep all of that noise out.
The morning was extraordinary. There were patchy blankets of mist in the hollows and just over the tarn. The sky was clear except for just a few little wispy clouds. In the east the sky changed from a dark glow to an increasingly brighter shade of yellow. The sun seared through and lit up all of the grasses and thistles. And then the mist on the tarn seemed to grow; more mist rose from the water.
A herd of fell ponies, some still nursing, was nearby; beautiful animals, all quite different. Some jet black with long black hair on their legs and manes. Some brown. The young ones seem so scruffy.