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Ethan Cutler's November Journey along the stour

Posted on: 15/12/2020

It is early November and a cloudy but mild day. We’d had a great deal of rain over the past few days, which meant the water level of the river was very high. The fishing platform was completely flooded and the paths were extremely muddy.

As I made my way through the squelchy mud (I wish I'd worn my wellies!) I saw a cormorant dive deep down under the murky depths of the river, its streamlined body disappearing beneath the surface of the water. I wait in anticipation wondering where it will emerge from next. I suddenly see it further down the river pop its head up like a periscope scanning for any potential signs of danger before diving down again into the abyss.

Suddenly, it took me by surprise as it appeared out of nowhere flying past me, skimming the surface of the water with its wingtips and flying off into the distance as I watch mesmerized. As I trekked further along the river, I hear the short, sharp, squeaky call of a great spotted woodpecker in the distance. As its call becomes louder, I start searching the sky with my binoculars and spot it land high up in a dead tree. I watch in awe as it clings expertly onto the tree with ease. It is a strikingly beautiful bird with a mixture of black, white and red feathers. After a short period of time, it takes flight again and its call gradually fades away.

I continue my walk and come across a juvenile swan swimming gracefully along the river. Its feathers are dappled grey and white as it is developing into an adult swan. It’s ventured out on its own, away from its family. It has been such a delight to follow the journey of this swan family as they have raised their nine cygnets during lockdown, from dusky grey little balls of fluff, maturing into majestic young adults who are now ready to start a journey of their own.

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