Saturday, 7 January 2012

It might as well be spring

I guess there are still people out there who doubt that the climate is changing. But I have never in over sixty years seen primroses bloom as the new year dawns. There are beautiful white roses still blooming in our rear garden and the summer hanging basket still has flowers in bloom at the front.

In our secluded valley the river is full once more. As a child I took steady river flow for granted. I never noticed a rise and fall of water levels, except when the big floods came and turned the Severn into a vast flood, cutting off school from the nearest town.

Now, as the eastern part of England becomes ever more arid, and our midlands increasingly dry, I am constantly drawn back to the rivers that flow close by. They are very shallow in summer in most places, though there are deep places where one
can go wild swimming. I am so glad that I have never seen a river run dry in England. Though the Spadesbourne, the brook at the back of the house where I grew up is no more than a culvert now.

Though Gabrielle and I live very close to the Windrush in Witney, my special retreat is to the Evenlode, where a secluded valley hides but a single house.

I go there almost every day walking Sophie, our puppy.

Yesterday, for the first time, I saw deer racing through the woodland fringes. The pheasant are returning to home ground after the November shoot, which seemed to have destroyed them all.
In a ten minute period I shot mallard, heron, deer, and pheasant.

I have no gun, but I have a fine canon 5D Mk2. Even with a 200 mll telephoto lens I find I am not quite close enough to the birds. I shall need to extend my range in time if I continue my fascination with wild birds.

Here you see a glimpse of a deer escaping from my presence with a pheasant seemingly perched on its bottom.
Deer and pheasant

Many days over Christmas were dark and damp. It has been a relief to see the sun again. Two days ago there was a warm wild wind, bringing down branches in the valley. I needed to take a video to catch the sound and movement. Yesterday, the valley had returned to hushaby. The birds which battled through the dark skies against the violent buffets of the wind the day before were settled quietly in the trees, singing so sweetly in the serene sunshine.

It might as well be spring.

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