Playing hunt the robin forces me to look up high into the canopy. To lean and peer around the different layers of branches, twigs and shapes silhouetted against the light. I find the bird. It is a robin, throat throbbing with trills and triplets cascading and rippling through the foliage.
I watch and move to a different vantage point, shuffling to get a better view. On a clean trunk (oak I think?) of a very tall tree there is a hole. A perfect, smooth edged hole. Excited I think of the woodpeckers on Springwatch. I stand really still and watch, and watch ….. and watch. I change my camera lense and take some shots. Who might live here?
Just when I have decided I shall leave it to my imagination and guess who lives there, out clambers a grey squirrel. No fuss, it climbs out and straight up the tree disappearing from sight without disturbing a branch, leaf or even the air. Of course I am too slow and fail to capture the moment. I did manage to capture the entrance.And a quick search has confirmed that it is Squirrels Dray. And Surrey Heath BC have a delightful page with lots of important information about these “troublesome and destructive animals with an insatiable appetite and curiosity”. You will be glad to know that “Squirrels are not considered to be a Public Health Pest. The damage caused by them is to trees by stripping the bark and biting the scions (tips of young trees). In houses it is their mischievous and wilful destruction of roof insulation and articles stored in lofts, and nuisances from noise and accumulations of bedding materials taken in. As lofts usually have a water cistern the occasional squirrel falls in whilst drinking and will contaminate the house supply. They dig holes in the garden to bury nuts, pinch fruit from the garden and raid bird tables”.
Thankfully this squirrel had a wraith like quality and he floated over my head with no trouble or trail of destruction in his wake. And I don’t expect to find him headfirst in the stream after a night raiding bird tables.
The stream through the wood is one of the reasons for my visit today. To see if, after all that rain, the stream is full or fuller. At the threshold of the wood on either side of the path there are swathes of bracken and nettles. A mixture of soften green all at waist height. Amongst them are the burs still green and not ready yet. The tiny planets with hundreds of sharpened hooks, will, when they are ripe grip and hang on to a furry beast or soft clothes.
Walking down the slope to the woods its steep, muddy and slippery. I put my feet sideways and grab onto the smooth truck of a young ish Alder tree on my left. It is strong and sturdy and worn, probably worn by everyone that walks down the slope pausing and using it for support.
I wander along thinking about taking photos and then decide to plough on into the woods themselves over the stream and under the canopy. It’s a windy, rain lashed day. in this part of the woods it is quiet and still. One solo song bird sings a song that pulses and throbs above me. I know it is a robin and stand still, head (bird like!) tipped to one side and then back, searching until I find him or her above me. The song sending a message in the silence.
I have taken some pictures of the woods close to where I live and posted them on my photograph site. This weekend I decided to spend more time in the woods with my camera. To look around me and rather than go for a walk in the woods, to wander around, watch and wait to see what occured.
It was a wet Saturday, sunshine and big heavy showers alternated and although I had my trip to the woods in my itinerary for the day. I did not set off until 2pm. I decided to don my wellington boots. I tucked in my trousers, put on my rain coat, stuffed a plastic bag in my pocket to protect my camera “just in case” and failed to remember that when you wear wellies you must wear proper big socks. Socks that are long enough to stay on your feet even when they have done the wellie induced wiggle down you leg, ruckled up under your foot and tried to sneak and off, over your toes.
Of course I did not discover my lack of planning until later when I hobbled around, each foot only half covered by a sock, trying to work out if it was worth standing on one leg, taking off my boot and sorting out my sock, in the full knowledge that the sock would be off and away again in a few minutes.
Anyway I digress.
I chose the anti-clockwise wood route with the entrance down the slipper slope (slippery when wet!) across the little bridge over the stream and into the woods. I had a fabulous adventure and apart for the wellington/ sock lesson, I also learnt that I need more than an hour of my life to allow proper wood wandering.
For now I want to share a picture of the woods. I promise to share more over the next few days.