Friday, 16 October 2015

Close to town

I stood at the edge of the path, feet planted amongst the rank grasses and binoculars held slightly shakily to my eyes. I had been gazing across the meadows for a while and my arms were beginning to ache, but I had a smile on my face. 
Behind me, across the river, Cowdray Ruins slumbered under the grey sky whilst the bank-side alder and willow trees were buffeted by a blustery north-east wind. Even without looking diagonally across the flood meadows to the gap in the trees in the far corner I could tell the road was there, the stream of vehicle noise was a constant presence, punctuated occasionally by the rumble of a bus pulling up in the bus-stand at the end of the causeway. My view of the bus-stand and the rest of the town, except for a few rooftops, was interrupted by a small, scrubby, thin copse of willows. Their presence is the result of a patch of boggy ground which has always been too wet to mow or graze, beside the squat bridge roughly half way along the causeway. Rushes grow in thick tussocks and a snippet of open water after wet weather often hosts one or two mallards. Water rails squealed here in the cold of last winter. Today a stonechat clung to the topmost point of a bent dock seedhead, swaying in the wind, partway between myself and the copse. But he was not the main focus of my watch. Beyond the multi-trunked trees, in a space of weak sunlight, a roe doe was grazing. I glimpsed her mate as I arrived,  slipping quietly out of view, but the doe remained, picking at the herbage and from time to time, raising a wary head to watch or listen to a dog walker using the river path. The path was a busy one; a border terrier went one way, a rottweiler went the other, followed by a whippet. Joggers, shoppers, bored lunchtime strollers; not one looked up. And yet I stood, watching every ear-flick, muscle-twitch, and nose-lick of a wild creature, so close to town. 

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Hello! Thank you for viewing my blogs and profile. I am passionate about the countryside and british wildlife and I hope that this comes through in my blog. I am a nature writer and have been pursuing photography since early teenage years, whilst building a career in conservation. Helping people to reconnect with the natural world is very important to me, whether through direct hands on interaction, education or literature. Please also visit my website, for more information, my current CV, and further examples of writing and photography. You can contact me or keep up to date with new blog posts via Twitter @SophiEcoWild and/or Feedback, comments and audience participation are always welcome! Sophie May Lewis