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The weather may be mild, but the winter thrushes are rapidly working their way through the hedgerow reserves. Two weeks ago they targeted the Hawthorns – the red berries were stripped over a couple of days. Flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings worked systematically from bush to bush, their rasping and piping calls filling the air as we disturb them. This morning the self sown apple tree in the railway cutting was the target – the apples soften on the branch or fall easily making them the favoured fruit. The bullet hard and bitter Sloes remain untouched; except of course by their human harvesters who have started their gin concoctions. 

As Summer gives way to the onset of Autumn, the noise of Rooks and Jackdaws becomes the sound marker for dawn. Weeks have elapsed since we heard the last of the dawn choruses of early Summer. Now, it is bird movement which gives rise to noise – Rooks leaving their roosts call to one another as they stream towards the stubble fields and freshly cultivated land. The Jackdaws seem to treat this event as a joyride. In contrast to the steady purposeful flight of the Rooks, the Jackdaws swoop and sport in small groups whilst calling in a loud cacophony.

There are newly fledged birds throughout the parish. Young Swallows hawk in family groups over the ripening barley alongside the railway line. They occasionally perch precariously on a wire fence whilst their parents fly around in escort duty. This must be their first foray – their short tails give away their relative youth and their approach has an air of easily distracted youth about it.
Down at Oxnead Mill the Kingfishers call constantly as their progeny explore the immediate territory for the first time. They are still being fed and the parents run a shuttle service up and down stream calling as they approach with newly caught fish. 
As I approach the Town Field a young Buzzard rises from its perch in a scrubby oak. A few falls of its wings before it gathers the rising air and sails higher in a spiralling vortex. I watch it scanning the ground as it circles higher.  

On a lovely late-June morning the climbing rose, Paul’s Himalayan Musk, is at it’s peak. Having clambered up to the main branches of a Birch tree in the garden, the flowers are bright in the morning sunshine. 

   

A Barn Owl, one of the Hall Farm pair, watches intently from a convenient fence post on the Long Meadow. Not all hunting is on the wing, sometimes watching and waiting does the job. Shortly after this photo was taken the Owl gently dropped on an unsuspecting mouse and before flying off  

 towards its hungry brood.

Roses on a June morning

June 13, 2015

It is too easy to fail to notice the Dog Roses on the old railway line. But this morning, on a relatively war but overcast Saturday, the pinky white blossoms glow. It is a good year for the roses – at least the hedgerow ones – indeed the bushes have put on enormous growth since that cold Spring which held everything back.  

 

The Mill Pool Wagtail

May 27, 2015

Every year the Grey Wagtail raises a brood from a nest tucked away in the masonry of the Mill sluice. On a warm morning such as this, she takes full advantage of the prolific hatch of Mayfly. She paused for a short whilst perched midstream in the millpond before setting off again in her hunt for more and more insects to feed her hungry nestlings.  

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