18th May

seven cygnets glide over the mirrored lake darting off from mum in ones and twos then racing to join the end of the line again while dad takes up the rear slightly behind. They bunch together as they enter their circle of reeds and heave back onto the nest site. No longer scurrying under mum’s wings . The male dips his beak several times into the water, rises up so his neck is stretching to the sky and flaps his wings out before settling to sentry duty in the mouth of their inlet- display over.

meanwhile a disctracted squalking draws my eyes back to this side of the water- a female mallard takes off flapping dramatically taking large plumes of water with her in an attempt to escape the two males chasing her.she circles twice till both give up and lands quietly some distance away on the grass . I think of the pair nesting fir the second time next door. I understand that males often kill off young ducklings , such is their need to mate again. It seems a hard world.

A different cry later more muffled rings out as two crows much higher up in the sky noisily mob a kite- its characteristic v shaped tail spinning and turning to avoid the angry birds in hot persuit. No doubt they too are on chick or nest duty!

23rd May

it goes without saying that in the book of life each day we open at a bran new crisp page. The page may be pre-coloured by bad weather but the treasures we see on a morning dog walk have the power to change how we feel and participate in the day. The sun is already high and the light bright, shimmering on the water and the swan family glide gracefully on it’s mirrored surface. Dad is at his usual bodyguard distance while the cygnets circle mum.The babies are growing fast. The once tight buch of collective fluff opens out as one by one adventurous ones wander further from the group. Now the dip their beaks , already mimicking parental washing and feeding. Still nine, all plump and robust.

eventually I release my gaze , spellbound by the sight even after all these years. On we walk and are glad to enter the shade of a little wood of native trees. There is something magical about the immediate drop in temperature and stillness. But as you listen this is actually the low level rhythmic russle of leaves and branches- whispering a quite welcome to any who stop long enough to listen.