Wild @ Rivers - November/December 2015

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Diary Entry by Charmaine Cooper


Dusk falls on another mild grey cloudy day. The Kestrel hunts in the gloom, hovering steadily over its prey before drifting off into the darkening sky. A Jay swiftly flies into the Hawthorn where it settles to roost. In the orchard's scrub several birds call as they fly to their chosen roost sites. Disturbed Blackbird, Redwing and Magpie flutter noisily from amongst the damp dark branches of the Hawthorn; eventually all is quiet apart from the distant call of another Blackbird deeper into the scrub.

Apple Tree

Another day of rain in the orchard and the Apple trees stand forlorn. Their branches, tangled and skeletal, still hold onto small immature apples. Beneath their branches on the cold wet earth lay tumbled apples that provide the wild birds with food. The tiny Wren’s strident alarm call penetrates the air disturbing a Green Woodpecker and a Great Spotted Woodpecker that have been hiding on the trunks of the fruit trees and with their typical swooping flight they leave the orchard. The wet month, still unseasonably warm, has caused Fungi to grow and thrive longer than would be expected. Dewy cobwebs adorn the grass as Spiders are still active in the mild weather.


In the orchard's meadow two male Pheasants strut proudly down the footpath. Still resplendent in their autumn colours they vie with each other briefly and then wander on, occasionally stopping to rebuff each other before wandering into the scrub. The Kestrel has returned to hunt in the meadow, hovering silently over its victim before plummeting down into the grass. Seconds pass and the Kestrel flies up and hovers again as it searcjhes for its prey. Unsuccessful this time it drifts off. Deeper into the scrub a movement of red against the dull brown foliage reveals the rusty coloured coat of a Muntjac; slowly it moves off followed by another Muntjac that was hiding nearby, leaving only their cloven hoof footprints in the wet mud to show their presence.

Muntjac Footprints

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