© 2014 by Barbara Copperthwaite.

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Stream of consciousness


I’ve started getting used to checking out a certain branch on Henbury Pond every day to see if the Common Darter is resting on it. Although I don’t always see it, it does seem to be a favourite haunt for this insect. Today it was waiting patiently for me, it’s brilliant reddish body blending in surprisingly well, so that most people do not notice it at all, even when gazing across the water.

Today was good day for dragonflies, in fact. When I arrived by the little bridge over the stream, I noticed a pair of Southern Hawkers. Their blue and yellowish/lime green bodies caught the sun every now and again, seeming almost to glow. For around twenty minutes I stood then sat (well, why not rest, beneath such a display?) watching them over the grass and around the trees. They were almost quartering their little section of the park. Back and forth, sometimes lazy sometimes darting, trawling the air, searching. Eventually they must have exhausted the area of insects for the time being, and decided to move on.

I, however, stayed in place beside the stream, because now I was watching a male and female Goldfinch at the very top of a nearby tree. They looked rather dramatic silhouetted against the sky, and I couldn’t resist taking a snap even though they were too far away for a decent photograph. Suddenly something must have spooked them, and they swooped down to another tree closer to me, flitting quickly through the leaves, ever downwards, until they disappeared from sight entirely in the foliage.

I love watching birds doing this. Seeing them flying through the sky, then getting their wings back against their body until they are almost torpedo-shaped, then flitting, winging it through the branches of the tree, through the leaves, so they can settle – and despite the speed they are still travelling at, they don’t fly into anything. It’s wonderful to see. Noticing these every day things and taking the time to appreciate them has changed my life. They are the wonders of the world, and yet they happen all around us every single day.

For a moment, by the stream, there seemed only to be Scamp and me left now that the dragonflies and birds had disappeared. Scamp decided to have a paddle and quench her thirst. From behind me burst a distinctive call, almost like laughter. A Green Woodpecker! They are elusive devils, and I hardly ever see them in Highbury even though I know they are there, so I turned quickly, just in time to see one flying across from one tree to another, calling the whole time. It disappeared from my sight the moment it was enveloped by leaves the same colour as its plumage, but I felt happy for that little glimpse at least.

#commondarter #southernhawker #goldfinch #greenwoodpecker #HighburyPark #kingsheath

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