Ing­ham’s WORLD

Daily Express - - NEWS -

BOAT­ING on the Nor­folk Broads last week, I took the marsh har­ri­ers and the ex­plo­sive song of the Cetti’s war­blers for granted. What I didn’t ex­pect was what looked like a gi­ant rab­bit swim­ming across the River Waveney. My binoc­u­lars then re­vealed a small mun­t­jac deer, grey-brown fur plough­ing through the black cur­rent. Wild eyes fixed on the other side, it bat­tled on, barely chang­ing course even when an an­gler moved his lines.

A clumsy stag­ger on to the mud, a vig­or­ous shake and it merged like a ghost into the golden brown of the reeds.

It’s the sort of breath­tak­ing “wildlife mo­ment” that the RSPB is gath­er­ing to show the value of the nat­u­ral world.

Three barn owls quar­ter­ing reed beds in day­light, badgers snaf­fling peanuts on the pa­tio, the first goldfinche­s to feed on my Nyger seeds, all made my heart beat faster.

Wildlife even makes time-travel pos­si­ble. A sky­lark’s song takes me straight back to school cricket where birds made more of an im­pres­sion than the bowlers.

On Golden Cap in Dorset, I en­joyed per­fect si­lence – no cars, planes or peo­ple – as I looked over co­conut-scented gorse to the Chan­nel. I es­caped credit crunches, call cen­tres and over­crowded trains to re­con­nect with an in­creas­ingly re­mote nat­u­ral world.

My favourite wildlife mo­ment? At dusk on a bluff in Kenya’s Sam­buru Na­tional Park, my wife, chil­dren and I over­looked a vast plain, moun­tain peaks all around, as we sipped sun­down­ers and prayed that the lions had al­ready dined. Be­low, a dust cloud rose up. A train of ele­phants rolled along, trunk to tail, moth­ers, teenagers and ba­bies tramp­ing serenely into the sun­set.

It was a sight ear­li­est man would have recog­nised – and a re­minder of just how in­signif­i­cant we re­ally are.

Add your wildlife mo­ments to www.rspb.org.uk/mo­ments, or tell me.

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