THERE was some kind of a fracas going on in the triangular wood.
First the jays started screeching, then the magpies began to rattle their alarm cry. I paused on the track to see if anything was coming my way, and looked up in case the cause of the trouble had wings.
A pair of crows started to circle and caw, and a pair further along took up the warning.
There was still plenty of leaf on the trees, so I could not see into the branches, and as ground cover has not died back yet, waist-high green and thorn blocked my view lower down.
The triangular wood is small, and lies a few hundred yards from the long thin wood.
It and a series of further small triangular woods embrace the big arable fields on the plain, providing refuge for wildlife and, these days, places for youngsters to pretend they are surviving out in the wild.
Children have always liked to make dens and camps, but these days we have a more aggressive type of interloper, the kind that make fires and leave dangerous litter.
The last ones accidentally burned their own tent down and fled, leaving a mess of melted plastic, metal spikes, drinks cans and food debris, having pulled down living branches and broken off a footpath sign to start their fire.
It is a tiresome parasitism because somebody has to clear up after them, and the damage to the trees remains.
I have pulled up so-called fishing-lines and home-made snares, left behind and forgotten, but still capable of injuring some wild creatures, and earlier in the year when everything was so dry, there was real risk of fire spreading.
I have not seen the television survival programmes that inspire this wave of returning to the wild, but I do hope they make it plain that people should leave a place as they found it, take away their litter and other signs of human presence, and above all ensure that fires are completely out when they leave, or better yet, not built in the first place.
Here there is a good place to enter the wood, and I bend under the lower branches and straighten up once past them.
Yes, here is some litter, fresh too, don’t modern people ever think to take their mess away with them?
The birds have quietened down now: odd that they are not making a fuss over me being in here with them.
Further on there are the smouldering remains of a fire, but that is not what would have set the corvids shouting, for the perpetrators must have been gone for some time.
Rubbing the ashes out with my boots, I see a scattering of cooked chicken bones and the cardboard box they came in lying beside. I think perhaps a fox has been scavenging the leftovers.
Cooked bones are dangerous eating as they can splinter or cause blockages in even such an efficient gut as a fox’s.
Probably a badger would not suffer, but the badgers live some way away and I doubt would come this far.
Well, there is some clearing up to be done here.
We are not far from the footpath - modern ‘survivors’ don’t like to walk far - and it would not do if a dog or a child came upon this mess.
At the end of the wood, a Land Rover is already bumping across the track towards me. It appears that some trees have been damaged further down, and smoke seen, the driver tells me as he gets out with a sack to put the litter in.
It is half the task with twice the labour, and a good bit of grumbling helps the job along.
I also get the answer to the racket that made me stop and look in the first place, for a fox had just left the wood and crossed over in front of the vehicle, and in something of a hurry.
I must have disturbed his meal of chicken bones by going into the wood when I did, and quite probably saved his life by doing so.
Mentally I tip my cap to him: not your turn today, old chap.