November 3

Another expedition to the wilderness. The rivers still very full and I enjoyed watching the torrents cascade over submerged rocks


November 8

I have not been getting out much. The weather has been wet and I haven't been feeling well but today it was a misty morning with sunshine trying to poke through above it and for the first time I walked down by the river in the morning. The river was full and fast with few places from which a dipper might operate and there was a lot of foaming pollution. There is one particular point in the river where the scum and foam of pollution gathers, circulating in an ugly and torpid lacuna. A rather depressing sight. Exactly where it comes from I don't know. There is a water treatment centre not far from the village but I suspect the white scum has a different source. The pollution, however, is not preventing the expansion of wildlife. Apparently a university team is counting dippers on the river and this morning I was talking to one of the Chapel members who was out walking his neighbor's dog and he told me about the time, recently, that he saw four baby otters playing on a beach at the mouth of a little brook which enters the Irfon just downstream from the water treatment plant. And that was not his only sighting. Such are the rewards of a regular morning walk by the river.

November 14

A brisk walk by the river with my wife. Not too much chance to linger and wait for dippers to appear or I would be left well behind! But we did have a very good view of a Goosander who even started preening herself in the water before heading off downriver with what I now recognize as their trademark noisy splashing on the water as they take off.


November 17

I have been missing my dippers, having not seen one for a while. Another walk with my wife by the river and this time I walked through the grounds of the hotel to the spa where she swims and enjoys the sauna and then on a little way to the lake which is raised up above the river. This was a long walk for me and on the way back I was tired, resting on the two metal seats; cold on the backside but welcome. Then as the walk neared its end the brown flash of a dipper flying upstream.

November 25

A brief visit to the Irfon at Aberdulas farm, about a mile downstream from Llangammarch. The light was fading and the river running strong through a sweeping bend

November 26

Down by the river early in the morning. A few leaves are still clinging onto the trees and the path is becoming muddy. Everything is gray and green and brown except for the bulbous sloes and the ivy berries turning purple. It was a day of snatches and glimpses and something seen in the corner of the eye.


First a bird flying away fast downriver. A dipper, I think, but impossible to be sure. Then as I turned for home a huge splash and the whish of something brown at the periphery of my vision. Surely too big for a fish. Maybe the otter? I stood quiet and still on the bank, only my eyes moving: watching and waiting, until overhead a silent shape glided by, it's piercing call revealing it to be a buzzard although for a moment I thought it was an owl. 

Just as I arrived back at the road the first dog walker of the morning.

November 29

Now that the leaves have all fallen from the trees I can see from our house on the top of the ridge down to the Irfon, particularly the strange circular construction of the water treatment plant. From the back of the house I can also look down on the Cammarch, and also hear it, for it is much closer.

A gray cold walk by the river, the first time with gloves. Apart from the distant sound of gunfire on the Eppynt, it was very silent with not a single sight of a bird, although I could faintly hear their twitterings. Then, just as I crossed the bridge to return home two peacocks lumbered into view looking aristocratic and entirely out of place.