Wild @ Rivers - February 2017

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Diary Entry by Charmaine Cooper


On a damp and cold afternoon the Rabbits and Squirrels foraging on the edge of the meadow suddenly scurry away. The unexpected intrusion also startles the Magpies and Crows. The birds fly up uttering their raucous alarm calls. Spring is still far away and the wildlife is reminded of the bleakness of the weather by snow flurries that descend on the orchard and meadow. The grass is briefly covered with a delicate white blanket but this does not stop the Rabbits reappearing as the snow stops and again feeding on the short grass poking through the snow. Once again the Crows return to the meadow but this time they are in the company of Fieldfares. The large flock of Fieldfares wanders across the meadow searching for food before all together taking to the air with their unusual chuckling call as they fly off over the scrub.

Hazel Catkins

The orchard is silent. Several Blackbirds are foraging along the footpath and the ditch. At this time of year they tolerate each others’ company but soon the breeding season will begin and territories will be won and fought over for the sake of their young who will rely on the food supplied by the parent birds within their territory. The Hazel trees in the orchard are full of Catkins that dance in the breeze.

Little Egret

In the meadow there is a surprise visitor to the Rivers site; a Little Egret. The snow white bird ambles along the edge of the hedge line probing the earth with its beak. The bird eventually gathers itself and takes to the air; its large soft white wings beat the air like our native Grey Heron. Returning to the scrub, twigs and leaves can be heard breaking and being tossed aside as another Blackbird seeks insects hidden under decaying foliage. Nearby a Muntjac browses, unaware it can be seen. The buds of the Pussy Willow are now opening, displaying their soft dove grey flowers. Snowdrops have emerged in some places and the wild Primulas are starting to bud, waiting for the warmer days before opening fully. On the tall Silver Birch a Kestrel perches surveying the scrub in the hope of finding prey.

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