Country diary: all the water’s a stage for this dramatic display of nature


Purwell Ninesprings, Hertfordshire: Entranced by the flash of a kingfisher deftly plucking a tiny fish from a pond, I was unprepared for the sparrowhawk that came after it

Everywhere, water is seeping. Filling the ditches and field margins, submerging the paths, bringing shards of sky down to earth in unexpected places.

The moist air feels heavy and the sedge beds look flat and lifeless as I squelch across North Meadow in my wellies. I’ve heard reports of kingfishers and snipes in the wetlands, so I’m hoping for an avian encounter to lift the morning gloom.

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