Wild @ Rivers - December 2016

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Diary Entry by Charmaine Cooper

Scrub Grass

The weather has been the biggest feature this month; it has been mild with the occasional frosty morning. On these sharp cold mornings the branches of the trees have been rimed with frost. In the scrub the long grass glows orange and drips of water cling to the dead stems, depositing their moisture when brushed against.

Thick fog descends into the orchard and meadow and hangs around nearly all day, only to disperse and reappear the next. Throughout the month the fog is a regular feature but the wildlife is still active. Blackbirds join the Robin and sing from the tallest Hawthorn tree, already claiming territorial rights to a favourite site. A flash of wings and a sudden cackle herald Fieldfares and Redwings suddenly disturbed and taking to the air. Rarely do they allow a close encounter.

Beech Hedge

Along the Beech hedge footpath the leaves have become soggy and no longer crunch under foot; two squirrels play a game of tag among the twisted branches of the Beech. Quickly they scramble through the small branches, never breaking in their stride, aware of every tiny twig as they navigate along the hedge before disappearing from sight in the hedge.

Two Muntjac are browsing the scrub. Slowly they wander through the grass, picking at the foliage, their movements soundless. They stop briefly and look up before dropping their heads back down and continuing to graze, gradually moving closer to the Bramble thicket where their coat colour merges with the tangled stems, melts into the foliage and disappears. Minutes later and further into the scrub one of the Muntjac is gently rubbing its tiny horns along a branch, enjoying the massage. It stops and looks aware it is being watched but then resumes the rubbing before eventually ambling off.

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