Every school day, except Mondays (Tesco day), I go for a walk after taking the small herd of children to school. Not far, just two miles or so in 30 minutes, but I love it. I go for two main reasons:
1) I read somewhere that a short walk everyday is an excellent treatment for depression and I've long since been into self-help for mine, so it fitted in nicely.
2) I love being out and about with nature and have discovered a surprising amount literally just around the corner (and down the road a bit) from my house.
I come off the main road to Findhorn and take a well worn path to the marshes, part of the estuary leading from Findhorn Bay to the River Findhorn, which wends it's merry little way, deep into the highlands of Scotland. Okay, so I see alot of ordinary stuff, sparrows, blackbirds, robins, chaffinch and thrush. I've seen buzzards, kestrels hunting, sparrow hawk hunting and roe deer too and that was a real treat, up close and personal, you could say. I've seen some things I've never seen before, still common, but lovely to see for myself, like long-tailed tits, gold crest and yellowhammers. In winter, there are hundreds of grey lag geese that roost on the marshes and redwings are common around that time too.
Recently I've seen whitethroated warblers and managed to identify it all by myself, from it's song and from getting a really good close-up view. I take the children out there too and last time we followed a kestrel as it hunted, waiting with baited breath each time it dived and then looking to see when he came up again if he'd got prey. He was unlucky each time as we were watching, but the children were fascinated and I was delighted they found it so exciting because I do too.
On one particular outing recently, Conall decided to take a break on a handy log, but discovered some rather grim remains, just on the end at the top. I said I thought it was probably a 'plucking perch', where a bird of prey, maybe a kestrel or even a sparrowhawk, might sit and pluck their dinner. I wasn't really sure, but they were keen on the idea, so I left it at that. Today, I suddenly decided to have another look on the way past and there were more remains, this time slightly more gruesome, (for the more tender among you, I shan't expand on that...) but now I need to 'phone my mum, to try to identify a possible culprit. I've narrowed it down to three, lets hope she's of help!
Am I sad? My friend has great fun at my expense, twitcher jokes abound, but I love it and it certainly makes me feel refreshed and inspired, an excellent treatment for my mind.
Trouble is, it's all over by 9.45am, I still have children to collect from school and the rest of the day to get through.