After this, there's only one thing to be done: head around the harbour walls and find our way to Davison's ice-cream parlour, who pride themselves on selling the best Manx ice-cream there is. I've not been able to contradict them yet... We wander back over to the beach where S discovers the pleasure of being able to sit on the sand and play without being wrapped up to the shape of a football, we devour our ice-creams (blackcurrant & liquorice with ginger for me: a surprisingly good combination) and we are watched with unblinking fascination by some of the locals, just in case we drop anything... A couple of Sandwich Terns on the edge of the tide parade up and down, heads tilted back and tails cocked, trying to impress a female who looks as if she'd actually rather just digest that last fish, thank you so very much.
|Herring Gull. This young bird was the first in - bold enough to settle a few metres away from us, but not enough to come and get the fragment of cone I threw it...|
|...and as soon as there was any sign of food, in came an adult. Immediate display of dominance and the younger bird sensibly retreated before any damage was done.|
Finally we walk back around the harbour and upriver a little to pay our respects to the inhabitants of the harbour walls: old (blocked) drainage holes have proved the ideal size for the Tysties which live round the coast, giving what must be a rat-proof and collapse-proof residence. Sure enough, two birds were present with heads jutting from the holes and occasionally reaching out and twittering in a most un-auk-like fashion. The spring's late this year and they aren't yet nesting, so our interest proves a little too much for their nerve and they flutter out onto the water below, scarlet legs akimbo and white wing-patches gleaming against their otherwise velvet-black plumage, where they float downriver on the current and pretend they were never interested in those holes anyway.
|Another black bird I'm admiring. Starting to think there's a pattern developing.|
|But those red legs lend a touch of the exotic.|