Friday, 29 April 2011


Dictionary definition:

hap·pen·stance   /ˈhæpənˌstæns/



a chance happening or event.
With a flurry of bank holidays and good weather it has been all too easy to accrue lieu time at work. I had a few hours to take and some semi-urgent chores and appointments to attend to. So the lieu hours will be best used to see to this business.
The First, Shelter, Exhibition and Yarnsie Fields and their birds beckon.
No. I should head to the village and my chores.
I hop on the Super Deluxe and free-wheel to the Wirral Way. A right turn is West Kirby and business.
I go left.
You never know what you could see, what chance encounter you would have missed had you turned right, and that is what make me swerve to port at the last moment. Decision made I pedal to the fields. Scanning around it looks quiet, but I know these fields can be a slow burn.
There are several gaps in the hedgerow that allow views across the fileds and I take up a position in one of these overlooking the Exhibition Field. I sit down cross-legged and wait for something to happen. The dappled shade is taking the heat out of the sun and a light breeze wafts the fresh hawthorn leaves. I'm instantly relaxed. Then a nagging doubt creeps into my mind, should I have gone home? Should I have tied up my business in the village then gone out?
As I am thinking this a Wren pops up in front of me. A loud rapid-fire song bursts from tiny lungs.
His song is so earnest and delivered with such urgency that the lower part of his bill quivers with effort.
If I had turned right half an hour earlier I would have missed this little chap giving it all he has to display to the local girl Wrens. I feel a little better.
Sat quietly in this hedge and dressed in drab colours I am hardly conspicuous. Stuff is coming close. A male Blackcap takes on the Wren in the singing stakes. He is louder, and I think his tune is slightly better. The flute like note at the end give it the edge on the Wren.
Noone has passed me since I took up my hedgerow watchpoint. The songs of these two avian troubadours would have gone unheard by human ears had I headed home. Correct decision made at the junction.
Still crouched in the hedge I notice a small bird hopping it's way towards me. It's a Common Whitethroat and it is blissfully unaware of my presence. It comes closer, gives me a nervous glance then zips past my nose and continues on it's way. Magic!
Little chance encounters like this can happen often on the patch and it is part of the reason for my swerve at the junction. However,  meeting the Whitethroat is not my chance happening or event.

The following image is how you normally see Brown Hares on these fields....
 There are several hares on these fields but usually they stay away from the Wirral Way that cuts through the arable mosaic.

Then it happens. That chance encounter. A hare appears in the Exhibition, its come through the hedge from the Shelter Field. It hasn't noticed me, it is still a little far off to see me. It is more concerned with feeding. It is lazily wandering along the line of the hedge stopping to munch on a few green shoots. I decide to scootch along the hedge I'm hiding in to where it meets the hare's hedge. It still hasn't spotted me. I don't push my luck and settle in to watch the mammal some more. I figure it'll get a bit closer before it drifts away into the centre of the field. It stops to take a little mre grass for lunch. This is it I think. It'll be off now.

It surprises me by not chosing a right turn into the centre of the field. It hangs a left and starts to lollop along my hedgerow towards me. It comes so close I can't get the camera to focus on it. It stares right at me, this is the first time it has noticed me. We stare at each other for what seems like ages, it is probably only a few seconds. I'm thinking of how I would have missed my connection with this animal had I opted for business over recreation. The word happenstance pops into my head.
My final thought is about it's eye. It is so close I can see the ripples of colour in the iris and the reflection of my hedge hiding place in the glass like surface. It's nose twitches, getting a good whiff of me. I am a little fragrant, in my defence it was a busy morning! A bike zooms past and that breaks our connection, the hare pelts off into the field, showing me a clean pair of heels.
And that is that. My chance happening on this feeding hare is over. Being so close for so long was amazing.

Happenstance, you can't beat it.

1 comment:

  1. Lollop. If ever there was a perfect word, perfectly used, you have found it.