Monday, 17 August 2015

Autumn

For the past few weeks that intangible change between seasons seems to have begun. It is still most definitely summer. There are still blue skies and sun scorched days. The crickets and grasshoppers are in full melody and the Brown Hawker dragonflies are on the wing but nevertheless there are indications of the seasons close.

Early mornings seem to have a crisp stillness  to them. Bob Robins song has changed, usually the first sign for me, In fact many bird songs alter at this time, the blackbird becomes more chippy and the starlings soo and coo in ever growing numbers.

On my patch it is the absence of birds that is most striking. The swifts have departed and the usually ubiquitous Whitethroats are now furtive and skulking. These warblers are this years young, their parents already left for Africa. The chiffchaffs and blackcaps are still around but no longer announce their presence in bold song and a single swallow remains to finish stocking up for the journey.

On the river a handful of male Banded Demoiselles remain, wistfully searching for the long departed females and the first Common Darters emerge, sitting proudly on prominent perches drying their new wings in the sunlight.



The goosegrass has died back pulling down the nettles that lends the meadow a kind of dead air. The open spaces seem barren but offer the best chances of seeing a Grass Snake, in the past two weeks a disappearing tail has been seen heading into the undergrowth as my approach disturbed its basking.

Although the trees are still in full leaf they swell with fruit and nut. The berries on the rowan outside my bedroom have ripened from soft green to vibrant orange/red. Give it another month and the leaves will turn themselves to red, browns and oranges. For many this is the real autumn, the bit theu wait for and glory in but I prefer this transition period when one season slides slowly into the next.