The first big storm of the winter built up over the Atlantic Ocean and swept in with considerable force across the churning sea, covering Algy’s little beach with a seething mass of white spindrift.

Although he had to hold on tightly to the rocks to avoid being swept away, Algy was fascinated by the strange mass of foam, which was in constant motion although it seemed almost solid. The spindrift built up in mounds which were changing shape continually, and was then whipped up into the air again in chunks by the roaring wind and hurled inland. If it had not been almost impossible to stand or fly in the gale, Algy would have tried making a foam snowman on the sand…

Algy tried to make his way back to his nest, but the storm force wind was much too strong for a fluffy bird. He dropped quickly down among the wet rocks at the end of the beach, and leaned back exhausted as the spray hurtled over his head. The sea in the wee bay beside his home was like a churning cauldron, and the surface of the water had turned entirely white, all across the bay. He had never seen anything quite like it before.

The wind was whistling across the moor at speeds close to 40mph, and frequent showers of snow and ice were blasting across the ridges. The forecast said that the weather would continue to deteriorate, so Algy tucked himself down in the lee of a rock, pulled his hat firmly onto his head and clenched his beak, bracing himself for yet another winter storm…

Algy knew that although the big winter storms could be dangerous and frightening, they also brought treasures to his remote corner of the West Highlands. Many strange and unusual things were tossed up onto the shore by the pounding waves, and others swept in on the backs of the great winds, from all the corners of the world. So, when Algy indulged in a wee bit of beachcombing after the storm, he was only mildly surprised to discover a mysterious photo card which had flown across the ocean, all the way from Kentucky….

Thank you Jerry – your images are not “ordinary” at all!

Algy shook himself thoroughly, fluffed up his feathers, and went out onto the shore to survey the aftermath of the storm. The normally sloping beach had been completely levelled, and the sand felt unusually hard and compacted. The tide was low now, and from the sea to the dunes there were dark, jumbled mounds of uprooted seaweed strewn everywhere. Algy could hardly believe the transformation that had occurred during the night.

When the dawn came, Algy awoke from his dream with a bump. His star had faded away for the moment, as stars always do in the daylight. But that wasn’t all that had changed. The floor of his wee sand cave, which had been some feet up from the ground the night before, was now level with the rest of the beach. All around him the seaward side of the dunes had collapsed and washed away, leaving a bedraggled tangle of grasses trailing from the sheered-off edges of the dunes. The storm surge had evidently swept right up to his hiding place in the night, and Algy thanked his lucky star that he had not been washed out to sea again…