September skies…

Apologies to all my followers for the lack of posts this summer.  I have lots of stories to tell: of rock pooling, fossil hunting and adventures in the Canadian Rockies.  Maybe they can sustain my tales through the winter months as I recount my journals.  But for now I am back home from my travels preparing myself for the new academic year and all the joys and challenges that it will bring.

September has crept silently through my window along with the house spiders and crane flies. The nights are rapidly drawing in and the light is changing.

After a day spent behind my computer screen, I scoop up my camera and binoculars and head out for my favourite cycle route which takes me through the changing countryside and a number of small villages.  I feel my mood immediately lift as I inhale the evening air and taste its freshness.  A young buzzard fills the soundscape with his eerie cries and the now extended family of rooks are gathering, swirling and dipping above the harvested fields.  Their black shadows adding drama to the soft blue skies above them.

The chiffchaffs, whitethroats and blackcaps which have graced the summer hedgerows flit from side to side in the country lanes catching the last of the flies; providing the nourishment they need in order to make their impending long journeys south.  I feel a sudden sadness at the thought of their departure and remember the joy I feel when they return in the spring.  I know that their place will be taken by the fieldfares and redwings which will soon be our new companions for the winter but, even so, I will miss their summer songs.

Up the hill, my eyes cast down as my lungs feel the demands of the incline, I take in the hedgerows abundant with their autumn fruits and the bright orange comma butterflies that drink their sweetness.

I am now high above the Blackmore Vale, stopping to take in the watercolour views and to follow the short shrills of a greater spotted woodpecker as it undulates towards the top of its target tree.   Then at last I am swooping downwards, the air rushing past me as I head towards the newly harvested fields and the wide flat open lanes that run between them.  This time I stop to admire the hundreds and hundreds of swallows which dance over the stubble, strengthening their flight and catching their bounty.  I have never seen so many here.

A crescent moon hovers low on the horizon eagerly awaiting the demise of the sun which eventually dips below the trees turning the clouds into mystical, ethereal colours and the sky into dimpsey shades.  The strange light casts sepia silhouettes of seed heads, hedgerows and trees.  I enjoy the atmosphere as the daytime slips away and head my bike for home; already contemplating supper and whether I might encounter my owls……

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