Animals and birds are more resilient than us

A fishermen's hut on the Ettrick during the recent deluge, which would need more than waders to reach!

A fishermen's hut on the Ettrick during the recent deluge, which would need more than waders to reach!

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I think this year for Christmas I am going to ask Santa for an ark! Recently, if it’s not been raining it’s been blowing a gale.

I don’t think I can remember such a depressingly wet December, but recently I seem to be saying things like that at regular intervals.

I think at long last the world has woken up to the fact that something is going wrong with the planet’s weather and that it is probably our fault.

Animals and birds seem to be more resilient than us and have to adapt to whatever is thrown at them to enable them to survive. Amongst all the human misery in Cumbria recently, one story emerged which illustrates this perfectly.

A farmer lost an entire herd of cows as they were swept away by raging floodwater.

Almost all were found a few miles downstream having managed to clamber out of the torrent, but one individual was found an incredible 20 miles away grazing happily on a golf course. Beat that Bear Grylls.

Locally, here in Selkirk, the flood protection scheme, which is only half finished seems to have done its job already, as no properties were inundated, despite amazingly high water levels on the Ettrick.

My local riverside walk has partly disappeared, as several feet of bank including trees have been eroded, leaving just a crumbling cracked precipice where once the path was.

On the nearby mill lade, where the water level is restricted, a kingfisher was taking advantage of the calmer waters to try and find something to eat. It knew that the nearby chocolate brown river was a waste of time. Similarly, on the fringe of some standing water in an adjacent field, a heron was scooping up worms, driven to the surface by the waterlogged soil.

Crows too were joining in the feast, never birds to miss out on an opportunity.

Here I also saw a pair of grey wagtails feeding in the mud.

At this time of year they normally head for the coast, but the recent mild weather has kept them here and here they will stay until the food supply runs out, once the ground freezes.

Don’t forget to get in touch if you have an interesting wildlife tale to tell or have a good local wildlife picture you would like to share with other readers.

Send them to corbie@homecall.co.uk