Today’s walk in the woods was thoroughly wet. It has been raining for several days now, and, although it was even wetter last winter, the ground is already saturated.
Mist has been hanging in the trees for days now, and everywhere the trees drip drip. As we walk slowly and carefully through the mud, the robin sounds its warning of our approach. Its tick tick, like the winding of a clockwork mechanism, is taken up by another one over the canal. They are sounding the alarm from high up in the trees, which seems to be the signal for “man with dog”.
Suburban robins and garden robins are friendly little chappies, and will famously peck for worms and insect grubs at the gardener’s feet, but these robins that live on the moorland edge are much more wary, and are feeling nervous and possessive at this time of year, when the ones that can hold on to a good territory will survive the winter.
In this weather I wouldn’t be able
to see them even if I could see properly, but it’s nice to know they’re there. In the winter individual birds, male and female, hold territories of about a quarter of a hectare, so there must be a dozen or so in the wood.
I hope they all survive, because they cheer my heart. Their pluckiness isjust what I need on days like this, when the mist clings and the mud sucks at my feet and I know I’ll have to wash the mud off Ruby when we get home.