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This report is taken from PN Review 176, Volume 33 Number 6, July - August 2007.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

2 March 2005
A field that is set aside. Upstanding, stiff, twiggy stuff of pale dead kex, or dark green nettles whose leaves seem to be half aborted, miniaturised. Strewed ground. The snow, for the moment, has melted off, leaving sluggish puddles, slut and slub, tacky mud. Sotterley was swampy. You stepped from tussock to tussock over clear water in the grass, and knew that any of the tussocks might slump under your weight. We drove on from there towards Minsmere, but turned aside here, on a road to Dunwich, from New Delight Walks, past the place called St Helena, so that we would pass this field where we once saw brambling. We park, avoiding puddles, and step across the lane onto the bank to have a wide view.

There is a large flock of stock doves, very military in black and grey. Some partridges. Then a half-dozen small passerines, looking greenish, flitting low and disappearing against the ground, amongst the dead stalks, on the far side of the field by the hedge. Binoculars don't reveal much about them, so Robert unpacks his telescope and, after a search, confirms they are there, bustling about, heads down, in the weeds, as you might expect twite to do, were this nearer the sea. Ducking down, and doing quick, long runs without looking up. They seem to have a clear supercilium, and a dark mark through the eye. And a bright patch runs right back round ...


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