Being at One with the Birds
One of the pleasures of paddling is the ease with which you can get close to the beauties of nature. Much of the bird-life seems unconcerned as you drift by and you can easily observe the wag-tails and dippers strutting their stuff on the waters edge.
A popular favourite is the Kingfisher. They are not easy to see when they are roosted on a branch over the stream but as soon as they take off you can recognise the arrow straight flight and the flash of metallic blue as they pass through the light.
On the Dordogne river they seem more sanguine than on the smaller streams. Perhaps they are more used to passing canoeists. From time to time you can sidle right up besides them.
In a similar way the herons can be seen, but usually not observed so closely. They often rise slowly into the air and fly a few hundred yards downstream. They do this time after time until eventually with an angry squark (they don’t often make a noise), they fly over your head, or cut a bend in the river to go upstream, or land tipsily in a tree high above your head, before you pass beneath them.