Thursday, 11 June 2009

Simple pleasures

Several metres on the other side of the copse (Where Heron nests) our road makes a tee junction with an only slightly wider mainish road. Here we turn right and walk to a modern concrete and steel river bridge (the old stone one was washed away twenty years ago in a storm). Here we have a short break to lean on the safety rails and observe the activities going on by the river. About twenty-five metres up river from the bridge there is a cut-away watering place in the bank with wooden posts and rails for the cattle to drink. The water here is deeper than it is under the bridge, because about ten metres downstream from the cut away is a weir made of large boulders which limits the amount of water let off to flow sea wards.

A few mornings ago I saw fish jumping to catch insects, some were only coming to the surface to make ripples on the surface. After a while I saw hundreds of small circles moving closer to the weir the migration of the pinkies or tiddlers was taking place.

So putting my gaze on to the weir I saw that the small fish were travelling sideways, in a gushing flow that streamed over the rocks to the turbulence on the lower side. In my mind I tried to visualise what this must be like for the poor fish, very frightening I imagine and I wondered if they all survived.

This morning, the water levels were much lower and out from the rails of the cut-away a small smooth boulder now protruded from the water, where once I saw several fish jump. No jumping fish this morning and hardly any rippled circles to be seen, as I stood gazing down enjoying the warmth of the sun on my back; there came a flash of bright malachite blue ! A Kingfisher had flown under the bridge and was swooping from bank to bank and all to soon was lost to my view as he swiftly flew up river.

It was a wonderful experience and a magnificent sight. I will always treasure the vision of his bright blue back, shiny red beak with his under body glowing orange in the sunlight, the perfect gift on our pre-breakfast walk and a memory that will live on in my mind for years to come.

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