Friday, 11 March 2011

Cackles and mussels

It's now light in the east at 6am as we start Office of Readings. Geese often fly over the Oratory at this time, and the honking of a skein momentarily distracted me from reading John Chrysologus on the links between prayer, fasting and mercy. After Lauds, I watched a flock of fieldfares browsing in the field by the railway line, then retiring to one of the trees in the triangle with great commotion.

Wednesday and Friday mornings are given over to estate work during March, so this morning was spent bashing brambles and clearing tree litter down by the stream. One mighty bramble bush hid a large stash of freshwater swan mussels, probably an otter's favourite dining place that we have now ravaged. Ian and Anthony donned the waders - I definitely wish I'd had my camera at that point - to clear a mess of twigs and leaves partially blocking the stream. They disturbed an eel, which apparently was <this> big. I'm guessing it was a freshwater European eel, Anguilla anguilla, not to be confused with Natrix natrix or Lutra lutra. And Anthony stepped in a hole that was too deep and filled his right wader.

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