2019 / 79
0730 – 0930
Grey, cold and damp. 6 – 7°C with low cloud cover, slowly clearing
I raise my cap in deference and humility.
Two weeks have passed – how have you been?
Things are quiet here. The autumn air hangs thin and damp – October heralds change.
Robinsong cuts clear through the mist, sharp crystalline notes as everything around softens and merges. Feels like thrushes. Is there a word for that? Not “thrushlike” because that means ‘having the qualities of and being like a Thrush’ – but describing the kind of conditions that Thrushes like…?
As it is, the only birds showing at the top end here are the inevitable Woodpigeons. They are slowly increasing in numbers, gathering for the November movement. But there is a gull moving north, left to right. Black-headed.
Elsewise, Great Tits. Blue Tits Coal Tits and Robins.
Robins Robins Robins everywhere.
Walking down slowly towards Q1, and I am the only thing moving. I try to drift, but am tired and clumsy. My apple is more bitter than I would like, and ends up cast into the stream course with some disappointment. The traffic drone is loud and invasive. It is unusual to hear the reversing alarm of a vehicle in Elliots yard:
“Attention, this vehicle is annoying!”
Dunnock song. Cobwebs. The remnants of Ragwort and lingering Devil’s-Bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis). Some Jays – how many? Bullfinch and more Blue Tits, but I still haven’t seen anything. Stepping into Q2, I do see Bullfinches. Six of them. No, eight, flocking up. Finches will come. The surface of the bracken is noticeably lower now, receding as it dies back into the ground. A Song Thrush zooms out, stopping briefly to raise its tail on a low branch. A thin whistle. Melancholic. And there are deer out on the track in the distance to my right – a doe with two young. We’ve met before. Hi.
And now a Chaffinch calls – pink, pink – followed by the first Goldfinches I have noted for some time. Half a dozen maybe? Silhouettes in the Buzzard tree, where two Stock Doves watch the world awakening. Shifting seasons.
The Goldfinch song s echoed in the tinkling stream at The Bottom, now full and flowing gently. Fragile and a delight to hear. Delicately running water, cascading over root and stones. Crystal clear standing a foot deep in a pool lined with orange and brown leaves.
It’s 8.45 when I step into the ampitheatre at the clearfell, and the cloud is beginning to dissolve. The sun is yet low and weak, faint and glowing, still shrouded in thinning mist.
Long-tailed Tits buzz and crackle, sounding like a bunch of crickets. More Bullfinches, and a Nuthatch bustling around in the ivy on the trunk of a larch.
I can hear the rattle of one or two Mistle Thrushes, but moments later there’s a fracas in the middle as a Buzzard tracks lazy over the middle. Its feels rather incongruous and I am surprised to see that suddenly there are birds everywhere. Jackdaws and a Jay pursue the Buzzard, whose passage sets of Mistle Thrushes like graceful fireworks on an upwards course 45 degrees from the tree tops. there are lots of them too – one after another I count 18 birds. They circle a bit, and take up positions around the edge, or in tree tops. Among them, some smaller birds, reminiscent of Starlings… Redwings! there is something re-assuring about the return of Redwings, and I am delighted to see them back. The next turn to takes its place on this ever-changing stage. There is something arrogant about Redwings. Garrulous and vulgar. Snakelike in their profile. Ever moving, restless but rowdy. Welcome back, my friends.
There’s also a cloud of even smaller birds, finches. Two flocks each of maybe 20 and over 40 birds. I will cross to the High Seat to investigate as from here they are distant, in silhouette and mostly quiet.
A dozen or so are Greenfinches at least, but clearly more. Where have they all been?
Look down too, carefully picking my way form the seat over the stream course to the south side. Is this the first time I have crossed in this direction?
Tiny mushrooms everywhere. Hundreds of them. Scotch bonnet? Marasmius oreades
Its fun to watch the other side of the birch line here from the ringing station (headline picture). Willow Warblers still coming through. With Long tailed Tits, and at least two Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Two more deer.
It’s cooler on the south side, and the track is claggy after all the recent rain. My breath is condensing again now. Still much song – Robins all around. And a Chiffchaff calling, loud and close, feeding in the bracken. Acrobatic Goldcrests
Chestnuts heavy with seed now, adorned with bright green prickly pom poms.
A beech leaf carpet.
Transition October. Time is still to come
I said it felt like Thrushes