Wild @ Rivers - January 2017

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Diary Entry by Charmaine Cooper


SquirrelsDrey

The rain does not deter a squirrel from foraging in the nursery scrub. Disturbed, it scampers up the old Pear tree, runs along the branches, leaps across the path into a tall tree and disappears into its drey. The collection of twigs and leaves moulded into a round ball offers shelter from the elements.

The orchard is bleak and cold, the birds are hidden and the bare wet limbs of the fruit trees reach upwards as if to seek the warmth of the sun. Silently the trees are waiting for the coming of spring; only the Hazel trees have bravely put out their Catkins that gently move in the wind.


Snow Pockets

An early fall of snow in the morning has thawed and only in the very sheltered places of the nursery scrub can pockets of snow be seen. Icy winds blast across the meadow and the scrub and all the wildlife has taken shelter. Walking through the scrub disturbs the Blackbird that takes to the air with its distinctive alarm call before flying back into the depth of the scrub and shelter. All other birds are silent, huddled against the wind in a sheltered spot. The Hawthorn trees are now bare of their berries and their skeletal branches sway in the wind. Deeper into the nursery scrub a Muntjac is browsing on the dry vegetation. It looks up aware that it is observed, stares and drops its head to continue feeding. Several minutes pass before the Muntjac eventually ambles off; blending with the foliage it quickly disappears from view, startling a Pheasant hidden from sight. It takes to the air screeching its alarm call, its wings beating hard as it climbs upwards, selects a hiding spot, glides down into the foliage and is gone.


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