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Rivers Heritage

Wild @ Rivers - December 2014

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Diary Entry by Charmaine Cooper


The air is cold and damp as the bitter rain drizzles down onto the sodden earth where it collects in murky brown puddles. The soil is continuously churned by walkers and the mud has become thick and claggy but this sticky mud reveals deep imprints of the secretive Muntjac deer’s hooves as it crosses the path into the nursery scrub. Like fragile glass birds on a Christmas tree a charm of Goldfinches adorn the dark damp branches twittering excitedly, their bright gold and yellow wings flashing as they jitter through the twigs. Startled by the arrival of several Chaffinches descending into the same tree the Goldfinches fly up in a kaleidoscope of red black and gold feathers.

The orchard is forlorn in the rain that continually drizzles down each day. Wet black trunks of apple trees stand in line awaiting the arrival of spring, their bare branches reaching to the sky as if searching for the warmer air. A whirl of sound accompanied by hesitant squeaking suddenly fills the air and out of the gloomy low grey cloud a White Swan appears. Slowly the Swan wings its way over the orchard into the neighbouring field, its wings beating slowly against the dark sky.


A cold wind gusts through the Beech hedge shaking the last remaining coppery gold leaves that cling to the twiggy branches. Perched above is the Kestrel silhouetted against the darkening sky, its body sleek and trim despite the wind ruffling a few feathers. Cold misty rain falls and the wind cuts through the air as a Fox dashes across the path, its red coat a splash of colour amongst the dark foliage as it runs into the scrub. Pausing, the wary Fox looks back, its eyes watching; briefly the Fox sniffs the air before turning and melting into undergrowth. A bird flutters into the twisted thorny bramble stems and creeping like a mouse disappears into a tiny round hole among the stems. The brown Dunnock has gone to roost in the shelter of the prickly bush safe from predators, accompanied by a chorus of shrill Blackbird calls. A grey squirrel runs along the bottom of the hedge, its bushy tail shaking as it scampers up the gnarled trunks of the Beech and quickly disappears.

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