Before 6.00 this morning I was driving along the Harty Road and across the marsh, in conditions just about as good as you can get them, clear blue skies, very warm sunshine and no wind - Harty looked a real picture. All along the road Hares, of a wide age range, got up in front of me and disappeared into the various crops. I love Hares and at the moment on Harty, despite attention in the Spring from the beaglers, they are doing really well and are everywhere. Rabbits also, especially on the Reserve, have been making a recovery from the excessive and unecessary culling last winter until that is, myxy made its annual return recently. This one with swollen eyes and genitalia had just been dispatched by Midge - its vital to isolate the infected fleas as best as one can, and of course, reduce the rabbit's misery.
My first destination this morning was the end of the farm track, which we know as the "concrete road", to collect a bag full of Canary Grass for my canaries. And on my drive along that track what did I find in my path but this male Peacock. He was outside the privately owned Brewers Farm, having moved down from outside Harty Church, some two miles away, in recent times - perhaps on his summer holidays!
He was a magnificient creature and knew it and I was much in awe of him at such an early time of day. After stopping alongside him I briefly crossed over to the reserve. Here, underneath the Tower Hide steps, I came across a Woodpigeon's nest in an Elderberry bush that was growing up and between the steps.
And noted that Teasel was beginning to come into flower.
and despite it only being early July, that blackberries were starting to form on the bushes. As I took this photo an agitated Whitethroat appeared with a a large grub in its beak and, assuming it had a nest there somewheres, I moved on.
Back to the "Concrete Road" on the farmland, split on oneside by fast ripening wheat and on the other by a line of willows that the farmer planted some ten years ago to enhance the bird populations.
This photo shows the dark green "cover strip" that the farmer sowed this Spring all around his crops. It is a mixture of barley and corn and maize and canary grass and other seeds all beneficial to wild birds, as well as the game birds.
And finally, I went back out there at 11.30 to have a look at the annual Harty Church flower festival. This tiny church sits on the edge of the marsh and is also on some of its highest ground. The photo doesn't do the various stalls justice, there were so many of them, but I was after a picture of the church itself, which was decked out inside with huge numbers of flowers.
The rear of the church has little ground but looks down to The Swale and across to Oare nature reserve, it is a beautiful site.
And to round things off, how about this from Rupert Brooke:-
"Breathless, we flung us on the windy hill,
Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.
You said, "Through glory and ecstacy we pass;
Wind, sun, and earth remain, the birds sing still,
When we are old, are old..." "And when we die
All's over that is ours; and life burns on
Through other lovers, others lips", said I,
Heart of my heart, our heaven is now, is won!"