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Along the river bank under the boughs, cows graze placidly; a chiffchaff calls ...
A soft plop - a water-vole slips into the river from his home in the bank; Ratty to some. His ripples spread out around him as he makes for a favourite patch of last years flags. A couple of coot skitter noisily out into midstream; a heron, hidden by the bend, flaps up. Fresh molehills pepper the field, already shining gold with buttercup, as old Moley starts his spring cleaning. Finches sing from across the field. A lone buzzard soars above the Wildwood in the distance.
Around home now the hedges are green and gold - Hawthorn bursting into leaf even before the Blackthorn looses its winter white; and Gorse - kissing everything in sight. What a difference a sunny day or two makes!
magpie nest the blackthorn winter passes over
On the morning of the Passover a Magpie flew up from the lawn into the top of the blackthorn hedge. I was glad when it was joined by another with a twig in its beak ... one for sorrow - two for joy.1
But some fields are still waterlogged - a puddling of pools glinting in the afternoon sun. A few Black Headed Gull huddle round their marshy edges facing into a fresh north easterly wind; the odd bird taking flight hanging in the wind before dropping back down. And isn’t that a Lapwing!
Listen - there he is again - singing now from the hawthorn at the edge of the river; ‘chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff, chiff‘, the double notes hanging in the air - the arrival of Spring ...
An original watercolour by Philip L Eden member of the British Watercolour Society (1924) of, and I’m guessing here, a Hampshire river. The artist lived in Boscombe and painted many scenes in and around the south of England. The red and white cows date the picture before the introduction of black and white Friesians in the early ‘50s.