Over the last week or so, I have occasionally caught sight of a large grey heron. I know it as ‘The Heron’, as one like it has been around near the river ever since I have lived in Beetley, and I like to assume that it is the same one. Walking with Ollie today, I was pleased to see it back in the usual spot, near the bend on the river. It stands patiently, staring at the water, waiting to jab its beak in to get the fish as they swim past. It is a large bird, with a similar height and size of a child, and easily disturbed if you do not approach carefully. When it feels uncomfortable, it will fly off, using its very wide wingspan to travel a short distance along the riverbank, resuming its patrol down there.
With the welcome sight of warm sunny weather, I am hoping that the return of this imposing bird heralds the real arrival of summer.
By contrast, the rabbits have all disappeared. Ollie’s favourite game is now denied him, as he has no bunnies to chase. There has not been a single rabbit sighting for a good couple of weeks now, and the entrances to their burrows are overgrown, showing no activity around them. This departure is further confirmed by the absence of the piles of small droppings, always noticeable in the shorter grass. I have no idea why they have vanished, whether they have died out from illness, or predation. They will be missed though, at least by Ollie and myself.
Walking over at Hoe Rough, I sought a break from the afternoon heat, and sat on a fallen tree branch in a shady dell. Ollie scampered off, sniffing and nuzzling, making sure he could still see me. After a few minutes of quiet contemplation, I was delighted to be joined by four small birds. They arrived in the branches above me, and were soon brave enough to begin hopping around on the lowest branches, presumably looking for insects and grubs. They were similar to blue tits, but had long trailing tails. They made a distinctive cheeping sound as they hopped about, and took no notice of me at all, only flying off when Ollie returned.
These small moments with animals, birds, and nature are truly life-enhancing.