21 April 2003

John Hyde

Within the space of half an hour this morning there were three amazing sights. Coming through the entrance gate, I stopped to admire the new 'sensory area' in preparation and, as always, the aquifer water pulsing from a borehole. A Kingfisher sat on a twig above the borehole, his plumage almost red chestnut in the overcast light. Soon he flew off down the narrow cut under the neighbouring gardens. A Heron stood on the middle bridge in a grumpy Meldrew pose. Into the corner of my eye came a Muntjac grazing on Shady Place. I took photo of the heron from a distance but the batteries were weak. I followed the Muntjac towards the orchard and saw her bounding away with a flash of white rump. I back-tracked to the Heron by crossing Shady Place but he had flown.

A bit later I sat for a moment on the bench by the blockhouse shed admiring the ducks defending their broods of perhaps ten ducklings each. The scene was supervised aggresively by 'Julian Milkman Mallard' [This duck is 99.5% Mallard with completely white plumage. He knows he's a Mallard, he behaves like Mallard do, but he's pure white. Someone calls him Julian; I call him Milkman because he has the behaviour of music hall milkmen'.]

'Julian Milkman Mallard' was distracted for a second and a huge Crow who lives in the crack willows nearby swooped and stole one of his chicks.

Quite a saga for the first weekend of the 'Watercress' being officially a Local Nature Reserve.

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