Wild @ Rivers - February 2016

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Diary Entry by Charmaine Cooper


A bright cold day and in the winter sunshine a pair of Bullfinches flit through the orchard’s hedgerow trees searching for food. The male\'s rosy red chest and black head are striking against the bare brown branches; the female is less colourful but still attractive with a white rump and black head. They call to each other with a sad haunting tune. Amongst the fruit trees Long-tailed Tits and Great Tits can be heard singing and the distinctive yaffle of the Green Woodpecker reverberates over the gentle songs of these smaller birds.

Early Blossom

On a cloudy cold morning the Barn Owl makes an early foray for its prey as it drifts over the nursery scrub. In the orchard’s meadow the Kestrel is hunting. Hovering above its prey, its wings beat steadily as it hangs in the sky before it plummets to the ground. A few minutes later it rises up and flies to the nearest tree and settles.

After a frosty start the sun brightens the morning but the wind is cold and sharp. In the scrub the Snowdrops are flowering, their tiny bell shaped flowers nodding in the breeze. Wrens are flitting through the tangle of Hawthorn and brambles. An agitated Wren bounces up and down on a branch, its tail flicking as it bursts into its alarm call that pierces the quietness of the morning. Further into the scrub, an unexpected find of an early flowering Cowslip withered from the overnight frost.


In the orchard Fieldfares and Woodpigeons are feasting on the fallen apples, the sweet mushy brown fruit welcome on a cold morning. Rabbits dash for cover, streaking across the grass to reach the shelter of the ditch. Blackbirds fly down to join in the feast, disturbing the Woodpigeons. The apple trees are still in their winter slumber but the plum trees are waking; already there is white blossom on some of the plum trees and in the meadow the apricot tree is beginning to blossom.

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