Friday, 26 July 2013

A Fine Summer's Day

We only have one small clump of Wild Migonette on the reserve but it never fails to re-appear each year. It grows alongside the gate that allows access from the seawall round to the Tower Hide.

A previous posting of mine mentioned the number of 6-Spot Burnet chrysalis's that there were in one special field on the reserve. A wander along there yesterday found that a mass hatch had obviously taken place because they were everywhere and yet there were still plenty of chrysalis still waiting to hatch, what a wonderful summer it is.

 Field "topping" has been taking place in the grazing meadows on the reserve this week. It still leaves the vegetation around a foot high but takes away the raggedness of the fields and at the same time tops the thistles before they begin to seed. Its hard to believe that the Delph fleet is alongside the tractor but it is hidden by the tall reed beds in the foreground and yesterday there was a family party of Bearded Tits working their way along the reed tops.

During my walk round this morning I sat for a while on the steps to the Seawall Hide and under blue skies and hot sunshine, took in the peacefulness of the reserve on a summer's day, watching cows grazing has that effect. Sitting there with the song of a few still energetic Skylarks tumbling down to me and the tall grass either side of me full of the buzzing of flies and bees and great clouds of assorted butterflies, it was indeed a fine and classic summer's day.

Perhaps it was the water of the Delph sparkling in front of me, perhaps it was just me being a romantic old fool, but I found myself recalling a passage in the Wind in the Willows.
"the Willow Wren was twittering his thin little song, hidden in the dark selvedge of the river bank. Though it was past ten o'clock at night, the sky still clung to and retained some lingering skirts of light from the departed day; and the sullen heats of the torrid afternoon broke up and rolled away at the dispersing touch of the cool fingers of the short midsummer night. Mole lay stretched on the bank, still panting from the stress of the fierce day that had been cloudless from dawn to late was still too hot to think of staying indoors, so he lay on some cool dock-leaves, and thought over the past day and it's doings, and how very good they had all been."
Aren't those long summer evenings, when being outside in the cool of the garden until after dark is far better than being in an over-hot house, so much better than the long, dark nights of winter. Well they are for me anyway. A glass of chilled white wine in the garden as dusk comes down at 9 o'clock and the bats come out, is much preferable than a cup of tea at 5 o'clock at the start of a long dark evening in winter. If nothing else, it also shows that our little mini-heatwave this last two weeks was a perfectly normal chapter of high summer, experienced just the same a hundred odd years ago, and not the result of some global warming phenomenon as the media would have us believe.

I eventually awoke from my mid-morning daydream to find that there was no Mole or Ratty in front of me, just a sky full of young Swallows and House Martins, feeding frantically as they gradually drifted southwards across The Swale, surely the ebb of summer hasn't begun already.

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