The day was unusually bright after the relentless rain and Spring was whispering and echoing around the forest. The sky held only filaments of cloud and we were walking through the towering trees of my sacred place – Big Dog Forest. The light dappled onto a sheltered pond and there they stared at us, glittering eyes of promise. We looked further as the volcanic parental activity bubbled ferociously. We were all enchanted by this wonder of nature, rippling away from us, the intruders, we could see another gift they left. I just wanted to reach in and grab it, but I knew they wouldn’t be perfect anymore. We had only started our walk, what other delights could be in store!
I saw it then, its waxy scarlet sheen, standing out against the moss. A solitary Elf Cup (Sarcoscypha austriaca), this fungi is sometimes known as fairy baths and my little sister has used them in her fairy garden, before the rodents and slugs finally devoured them.
We walked onto the clearing, spiky remnants of felled Sitka Spruce, posts for resting birds; including this lovely Stonechat. Its almost robotic call, welcomingly piercing the quiet. Mum thinks they sound like R2-D2! It stayed perched, singing its little chest out and up to the space above.
Dad and Bláthnaid went ahead and mum gets a text to say that some special visitors were waiting at Lough Nabrickboy and for us to be extra quiet. We walked faster and there they were, all four of them!! They could have been Aodh, Fionnuala, Fiachra and Conn; The Children of Lir. Whooper Swans, the only true wild swans. The gentle melancholic figures bobbed gracefully on the pool, their long necks held high.
We approached slowly and quietly to the picnic table and they with us as we reverently sat in silent awe to eat our picnic. We felt so privileged, they were just sailing along. Suddenly the honking trumpeting began, wings extending and heads dipping and rising. I skulked and managed to take a short video as they readied for flight, heading off north westerly, perhaps towards Greenland.
We had never seen them here before and it was such an intimate encounter. Normally, we see them by the roadside, their heads buried in the grass, the cars whizzing by. Here it was just beautiful. We were all so so amazed. Nature has real power to turn an ordinary day into something memorable.
We finished our lunch and made the quick ascent to Little Dog, admiring the jutting Carboniferous sandstone and enjoying the heat of the sun. The views as usual were stunning and the day was just perfect!!
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I also made a video to thank you all! I made it on World Wildlife Day but didn’t get a chance to write a separate blog about it. I really appreciate all your encouragement and support!
I had to leave school early feeling not very well today, so took the opportunity to finish this post before I go back to bed. Hoping I feel better by tomorrow as it’s also Eco Schools Day! Myself and Mr R have been working hard and I’ll post an update on that soon too. I hope you enjoyed reading