Monday, 1 September 2014

A late summer afternoon on the Kings Weston Rhines

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.

 I've seen the kingfishers twice now. I hope they decide it's a good place to fish and stay longer.

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