Savouring Every Last Drop

Everybody has noticed more hours of light in the first week of March, and with more hours of beautiful sun comes a new urged desire to spend as much time enjoying it as possible. The air has a new and fresh scent, and the light that greets you as you walk out the door has an energy that injects a newfound spring to power every step. For most people, work will finish after 5 when there are few moments of daylight left. Fortunately for me, not even a full day of work could stop me capturing the last drop of sunlight, to enjoy the final song from the wildlife at Wollaton’s beautiful lake.

It had been a tiring afternoon, with a dragging clock, and a dragging urge to leave early in the hope of enjoying more hours of the day. Like many people, Winter has made me slightly bitter to the fact that the few hours of sunlight available are not enjoyed as they should, which to me, is outside. Begrudgingly I continued my university work until everything necessary was complete: Drosophila done, and the door shut on the lab until tomorrow. I strolled outside and looked up to the dusky beauty of twilight hour, the perfect time to be outside, and the perfect opportunity visit my friends at Wollaton.

The air was no longer biting, but fresh, calm, and cool, becoming heavy with the mist to blanket the grasslands and fields for the evening. I left the busy roundabout, and the hectic traffic of rush hour, and like a hand in a glove slipped into the peaceful surroundings of Wollaton park. I ventured down the track again, towards the beautiful lake where I knew the birds would be waiting.

I don’t normally venture to the park at this time of day, but there was something quite different, and incredibly special about it compared to the bright daylight hours of which I am used to. The lake was calm, with only a few ripples skipping across the surface. The birds were still around, with the odd squeaky bicycle sound from a coot and the awkward gear changing call of a territorial heron. Similarly, the corvids were in full chorus, speaking chattering like tuneful wooden rattles, and even I could tell that they were saying goodnight, and getting ready for bed.

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A heron pair, organising their nest ready for their chicks arriving in the next few months

I sat for a while, watching and waiting, waiting to see who was curious enough to wish me a good evening. I was first greeted by a coot, making a chip and a dive with every tac that he made in the direction of the bank  I sat on. Soon he became rather bored and aware of the little food I had available and moved on to find some tasty reeds under the surface.

In a similar manner, a young swan from the previous year was next to inspect my presence. He zigzagged across the lake towards me, and every line that he took was accompanied by a sideways glance, to see what I was doing squatting by the side of a lake, and not either walking past or throwing seed like a regular human. Whilst he was quite cautious it did not take long before his parents made a beeline for me, to say hello and ask for some food, before drifting off into the middle of the lake, probably in disgust at my lack of offerings.

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the young swan, cautiously edging towards me
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the parents seeming less worried about my presence by the lake

After meetings, greetings, and good afternoons had been made with a few of the local residents, including those with a mallard pair who were equally as intrigued by my visit, I still was unable to tear myself away from this spot. The silhouette’s of the herons were beautiful as they either made finishing touches to the nest, glided like a paper airplane into the sky, or simply stood motionless, waiting for the sun to fade behind the trees.

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a mallard female, convinced that I have a yummy morsel to offer her

I stayed there until the once pale blue sky began to turn a shade of indigo, and the highest branches became quite laden with black silhouettes of the corvids, chattering tales of the day’s fortunes, and by the sound of it, misfortunes too. Before the gates to Wollaton closed, I had to leave, having taken the biggest and most relaxing breath that I had had in a long long time. I departed from Wollaton’s castle gates as if leaving Narnia onto a busy and petrol infused road, full of cars, lights, buses, and people. My moment of solace was relatively short lived, but the peace that it gave me still leaves me calm and collected amid the hectic world that outside its isolating walls.

I departed from Wollaton’s castle gates as if leaving Narnia onto a busy and petrol infused road, full of cars, lights, buses, and people. My moment of solace was relatively short lived, but the peace that it gave me still leaves me calm and collected amid the hectic world outside its isolating walls.

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