Fox and CubsThursday 8th June 2000
TRIPOD, camera, flashlight, action! School parties from infants to sixth forms use the wood. Today it serves as a location for a photographic shoot. A local high school is producing a promotional brochure and two students are welly deep in the beck to demonstrate the school's commitment to field studies.
On a small bank of wasteground by the mill Orange Hawkweed, also known as Fox and Cubs, is in brilliant flower.
In a cottage garden small bees push into the flowers of Red-hot Poker while larger bumble bees visit the Catmint.
Three local children come to the door and hand me a greenish egg, smaller than a hen's egg and more rounded.
'We found a pile of these in a hole in a field!'
'Well, do you think it was a pheasants nest?'
'No! there were so many eggs!'
'Perhaps a fox had cached them there? Or do you think two female pheasants might have laid in the same nest? I know who'll be able to tell you . . .'
I send them around to a neighbour. It turns out that they've found a pheasant's nest with 21 eggs in the middle of an oilseed rape field (which has gone to seed now). They've trampled around it so much that it's unlikely the pheasant will return. My neighbour has collected the clutch to hatch in an incubator.
The rape will soon be ready for harvest, so the nest might have been destroyed, if the children hadn't found it.