Patience … or, Some things are worth waiting for
In August of this year we took a boat trip across Poole harbour to Brownsea Island. We were on holiday in Dorset and thought it would make a nice day trip. In addition, we were hoping to spot red squirrels which are native to the island. It was definitely a ‘factor 50’ day, clear blue sky, sunshine and only the lightest breeze – perfect!
There was a tour guide in the church who was more than happy to explain all the features of interest as well as recount the history of the island and its former owners / inhabitants. We were happy to linger in the church and enjoy the coolness of its interior – a very welcome respite from the heat of the day.
I asked the question, do you see many squirrels?
The answer ‘The last squirrel I saw was about two months ago, it came into the church and ran over my foot’.
‘So will we have a chance of spotting some today do you think?’
‘Today? oh no, its far too hot and there are too many people about, you won’t see squirrels today’ came the reply from the knowledgeable guide.
We stepped outside, my granddaughter feeling a little disappointed as she, like us, had been looking forward to ‘squirrel hunting’. A walk around the churchyard followed, a beautiful and peaceful area, perfect for a final resting place. It was while we were exploring around the church that two photographers were spotted, in full camouflage gear, with huge telephoto lenses and tripods. My curiosity got the better of me and we moved closer to the clearing where they had set up their gear. All was quiet and still, a handful of people, like us, waited patiently.
‘What are we waiting for?’whispered little Alice… ‘I don’t know – but we’ll wait and see’
Sure enough, we were rewarded, a red squirrel came into the clearing and proceeded to scamper about, darting here and there, I struggled to keep up with it and couldn’t see how i’d be able to capture it on camera. However, it then discovered a store of food and so the scampering stopped and the photos were taken. What a wonderful 20 minutes, although it was shaded area, the bright sunlight shone through the canopy of leaves and highlighted the little fellow’s red colouring.
I managed to take several photos and when the little fellow was joined by another we were overjoyed.
After the ‘show’ was over, we walked away and continued with our exploring of the grounds.
Acres of woodland, grassed areas for picnics, Brownsea Island is truly an oasis situated in Poole Harbour, one of the largest natural harbours in the world. Take advantage of the restaurant and tea room too. There’s also an interesting exhibition centre which details the history of the island and its occupants as well as an activity table for the youngsters to draw and craft.
As we sat and waited for the boat to take us back to Poole, Alice turned to us and said ‘She was wrong wasn’t she? ‘The lady said we wouldn’t see any squirrels and we saw two, she was wrong wasn’t she Grandma’
Yes Alice, she was wrong.
Patience provided it’s rewards for us that day. Happy Alice Squirrel Hunter!
Words and pictures by Lizzy Clark