A River Runs Through It

I’m sitting here, back propped up on an old log, flask of coffee, snack, camera and binoculars by my side and I’m watching a few birds and a great deal of water. It’s one of my favourite bits of the Towy in the flood plain near Llandeilo. Parties of Sand Martins are quartering the river and a group of three flies past below me, just under the bank. Over on one of the shingle banks are a Common Sandpiper, a Pied Wagtail and a couple of Mallards. All around are the geese – the old native Greylags. At this time of year you see ones and  twos plodding about the fields and then, with that particular strident flight call, taking off and flying round before landing on one of the lakes or in another field. One pair is particularly interested in me and flies in a low circle round me to see what I am up to.  (For technical reasons I have my reserve camera so the pictures aren’t as sharp as I would like.)

Greylags mate for life, and according to my books the female incubates the eggs while the male stands guard. However, here there seem to be two or three geese standing around together in the fields on guard duty. Do unattached birds help other family members, or are there several nests hidden away nearby? Here they sometimes nest in trees, and like tree-nesting ducks, the newly hatched goslings will simply launch themselves into space and fall to the ground unhurt.

In this flat land the river takes great loops and the force of the water wears away the banks. Eventually, after a hundred years or so, the river will break through and cut off one of the loops, leaving the characteristic oxbow-shaped lake behind.  There are seven of them here, and at some stage – though not in my lifetime – this huge loop will be cut off in its turn.

On the largest of the oxbow lakes the first ducklings of the year are out, and I record the following:

6 Greylag Geese, 1 Little Egret, 2 Mute Swans, 10 Mallards, 3 Coots, 6 Gadwall and 1 Heron.

To us wildlife freaks Spring is the most exciting time of year but also the most stressful. There are so many opportunities to be missed! Should I evict the sparrows from the swift box and re-position it a lot higher? Will there even be any swifts this year? Will I get a cuckoo picture? What about those elusive hares which can be seen in the very early morning? If only I could get to Scotland and see the eagles! Will I be able to see the Pine Martens using the boxes I made for them?

My calendar fills up with stuff like doctors and dentists, a cataract op for Thelma and a cochlear implant for me. I have to get the campervan spruced up and on sale and then what will I replace it with?

In just a few weeks it will be over and I can look back with the inevitable mix of elation and disappointment, but then I will have our holiday in France to look forward to.  Could be worse!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A River Runs Through It

Comments are closed.