Next morning there was no sign of the wild deer; the fire was burning and pans of water boiling on the fire. The smell of hot coffee, and a note left from Ned. Get washed in the stream collect the plates and get dressed ready for your trip into the forest. The morning air held a chill when the boys rushed down to the stream to have a high speed wash.
They were in their tents getting dressed when Ned returned. Placing five hen’s eggs in one of the pans of boiling water to cook them and slicing the bread ready for them to butter. In the other pan he made Porridge with oats and salt it soon looked a bit gooey until he poured milk on it, the boys soon wanted more. Harry asked ‘what sort of milk is it? He wished he hadn’t when Ned said ‘deer milk’ the eggs were ready to be chopped with butter pepper and salt to make sandwiches these were packed in their back packs ready for the off.
The boys took the plates down to the stream and left them in the water to wash- themselves including the porridge pan, Ned put out the fire. Tent door flaps pegged down. Heading into the almost black forest following a trail so narrow they had to walk in single file. Birds began to sing although they could not see any of them, soon the forest became alive, and birds were singing everywhere. ‘Listen! This is the real dawn chorus; we will stop here and count how many different birds are singing? Can any of you guess?’ Rupert said ‘sixty four’ Maurice guessed fifty two, Harry said about forty seven. Peter said ‘I know because it was in the paper two nights ago seventy nine has been found within the local forest.’ ‘That’s right’ said Ned, ‘All the game keepers including myself did the counting. In parts of the forest there are habitats of different types. We have stopped here because on the left it is very wet this is the place for frogs and toads, and different waterfowl, as we walk on, the path curves to the left before climbing up a hill. Who wants to take the lead?’
The other three boys pointed to Rupert. ‘That’s what I like a volunteer’ said Ned handing him a map as they set off again with a new leader, About half a mile along the track they came to a fork in the track. Rupert signalled to the left, this was nearly overgrown with long grass. Soon they were climbing higher and scrambling over rocks onto a ledge six foot wide with a high cliff on the right and on the left an open space. They could see a large oblong pond with wild ducks and their growing ducklings and bigger birds. ‘What are those big birds called’ asked Maurice. They are called Canada Geese the largest ones will be leaving in January while the goslings will be here for a year then it will be their turn to fly to Canada. Harry asked if he could take notes for his homework.
That’s a good idea agreed the other three boys. ‘Is it all right Ned?’ At a nod from Ned they took out their note books and started writing. Peter used a sketch pad and drew the pond with the different groups of birds in different places and the frog area adding frogs and toads and the ducks and geese , the sketch took only five minutes and was very accurate. Ned looked at it, ‘that is very good Peter’ then after a few strokes with coloured pencils the birds looked real.
‘Do you often draw things you see Peter?’
‘Yes Ned I did a drawing of Roger the stag in this book, look this needs a little finishing off because it got too dark last night and this one is of the deer grazing and. I can not divulge any locations.
next installment Monday