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Rivers Heritage

Wild @ Rivers - Dec 2017 / Jan 2018

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Diary Entry by Charmaine Cooper

Orchard under Snow

December saw the first heavy snowfall of winter; the orchard was under a white blanket, icy bitterly cold winds rattled through the trees and the wildlife took shelter form the harsh weather. Those animals and birds that did venture out to feed left trails of footprints in the snow. Unusual alien like three toed prints reveal the wandering of birds as they search for the apples buried under the snow. Muntjac and Rabbits have also passed through the orchard into the meadow and scrub.

Bracket Fungi

In the scrub the bare trees stand proud in the snow, offering little cover for the Muntjac, its brown coat stark against the cold white snow. A log covered by grass in the autumn is now exposed to the elements and is clad in row after row of Bracket Fungi.


After the snow, cold and drizzle return to the orchard, the earth is churned into mud at the entrance and the rain becomes heavier and the skies darker. The month rolls on and little changes; the air is cold, everything is wet and the wildlife struggles on. Blackbirds forage outside the scrub area on the earth where the grass is short and they are able to find earthworms.

Winter Sun

On a silent January day the scrub resonates to the bark of the Muntjac. A hint of Fox odour drifts in the air and walking into the scrub a dark shape swiftly moves among the dead grass and Hawthorn. The Fox is abroad early in the hope of finding a meal. A cackling Magpie warns of imminent danger and the Fox bolts for cover. On the Wild Rose the Rosehip berries are devoured by a hungry Blackbird, each berry deftly picked off by the bird’s beak and swallowed whole. Crinkly leaves of the Primrose are unfurling and the strong green leaves of the Snowdrop are bravely forcing their way through the cold earth but spring is still a long way off.

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