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Dusk in October

October 5, 2011

Last night the light levels were falling at seven o’clock, but not fast enough for our purposes. It was too light for the river bats. Howver we walked the river bank as the light levels fell. Silence descended as the evening shift took over.

The light was sufficient in one way – as a pair of Mute Swans drifted upstream into the gathering dusk, we stopped at the stile and a movement caught our eye. The Otter dived and re-surfaced in a gentle arc before proceeding soundlessly downstream past us. It’s movement was purposeful and showed no sign of nerves, although it hugged the opposite bank before gliding into the gloom.

We walked back down the Street in the company of numerous Tawny Owls which broke the silence with loud calls aslively territorial exchanges. It was as if everything was active again after the unseasonable heat of the day.

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Clear mornings following a night of rain are the best conditions for Brampton. That is, if you want to spot Barn Owls or other birds of prey in or around the village; this morning, the middle Saturday of October, being a good example. Rain pelted down on and off until around eight o’clock. Soon afterwards the skies cleared again and a gentle easterly breeze settled down under blue skies – the clouds were the benign cumulus that drifted by without the threat of further rain.

At this time birds which have been hunkered down suddenly feel the need to move. Woodpigeon fly purposefully in all different directions and certainly without a group plan. But the Barn Owls and other predators hunt with purpose.

At Brampton Church the normally playful Jackdaws were in serious mood. They, who mostly see to be intent on joy riding and acrobatics rather than any serious purpose, were escorting a Buzzard away from their territory with the same intent that the aircraft from Coltishall used to escort Russian spy planes. Common Buzzards are becoming increasingly regular sightings in this part of Norfolk – their territory gradually expanding for the midlands. This one did not seem to worried by the attention and circled away to the north. It is possible that it will adopt the river valley temporarily.