Wild @ Rivers - September/October 2016

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Diary Entry by Charmaine Cooper

Speckled Wood

Morning sunshine filters through the trees as Crows call from above. The air feels fresh and cool after the rain that fell through the night and Speckled Wood and Comma Butterflies are sunning themselves on the Blackberry bush. In the orchard’s meadow a very large Brown Rat emerges from the hedgerow and observes the world before it realises it is being watched and scampers off. Another Speckled Wood darts through the meadow enjoying the warm sunshine.

Michaelmas Daisies

All around the meadow and nursery scrub the fruits of autumn are visible. There are Acorns, Beech Nuts and Blackberries and bushes laden with blue black Sloes. On the Hawthorn trees bright red berries adorn the branches. The Traveller’s Joy plant has produced fluffy seed heads and beautiful Michaelmas Daisies are flowering in the scrub. There are wild Apples and Plums within the nursery scrub and the orchard’s Apple and Plum fruits are swelling.

Spider Web

Another day, and early morning mist shrouds the orchard and meadow after a night of rain. The Spider webs sparkle in the sunlight as it breaks through the mist. As the sun climbs in the sky a Red Admiral Butterfly flies across the cut and now barren meadow. Nearby a Dragonfly takes up the chase and pursues the Butterfly. It fails to capture it and resumes its dance across the meadow.

Thrush Anvil

A Jay silently flies from one Oak tree to another. The time has come to collect and store Acorns for the coming winter and the bird greedily takes several Acorns in its beak before flying off to bury them. In the scrub a Wasp rasps the sweet flesh from an Apple on a wild tree before flying off. Spider webs stretch across footpaths, catching against face and clothing, their silken threads strong and difficult to break. The Spider scurries away as it feels its gossamer thread breaking from the tug of something too strong to resist. The Song Thrush has been busy collecting snails and thrashing their hard shells against stones to break into the soft body beneath.

Meadow Brown

Dark brooding skies and a fine misty rain falls. As it clears the Jay and Great Tit return to the orchard. Two male Pheasants fly in, announcing their arrival with their loud alarm call. They descend swiftly into the grass before once again taking to the air and leaving the orchard. The weather is cooler but the Red Admiral Butterfly is still flying. Even a Large White Butterfly is still on the wing seeking out the yellow flowers of the Sow Thistle growing within the scrub. A young Jay flies out from a bush as a tiny Wren darts mouse-like along a branch and disappears into thick cover. A startled Muntjac leaps up from its hiding place in the long grass of the scrub and flees quickly into the deeper thicket disturbing four Pheasants hidden in the grass. They take to the air with a cacophony of sound.

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