There’s magic in the meadows this morning – low sun breaking through the mist to create little pockets of light in the trees on the far bank. The floods are slowly receding and the air is full of birdsong – a few notes from a blackbird by the bridge, mistle thrush in the distance, great tits and songthrushes ringing out in the early spring light, a skylark in the field by the path back from Cotterstock and the first downward rush of a chaffinch call at the entrance to the woods.
I hear the kingfisher before I see him, a little blizzard of dogwhistle pips as he passes and lands close by. I’m now on the wooded bank where it’s much harder to get a clear picture but he’s barely 30 feet away with his back to the river, peering down at some muddy pools where the path would normally be (I’d gingerly sploshed through them not long before, careful not to slip or trip on an exposed root and fill my boots). I hardly dare breathe as he pauses for a few moments (just look at those tiny pink feet!), then there’s a single “pip” and he’s off to fish elsewhere.