A sunny afternoon led me out to walk across the reclaimed marshland behind our home in north west Bristol. Here, the floodplain of the River Severn supports a network of drainage ditches known as 'rhines'. A surprising number of rare and scarce species can be found here, including otter and water vole. The bank on the nearest rhine has been cleared recently, and I found roe deer tracks in the mud. This is a good spot to find a drink!
The rhines are also full of small fish! Last week a shrill cry and flash of iridescent blue thrilled me, as not one, but two kingfishers graced the rhine, flying along the watercourse. A heron stood sentinel on the bank and two mallard swam past it. It reminded me of an image in a Ladybird nature book - all the right elements in one place. It was all too swift for my camera, so I tried a quick sketch in my nature journal to remember the moment. I was also really delighted to see them, because as well as being beautiful, the kingfisher is a good indicator of freshwater health.