An evening stroll on the West Hethersett Loop brought home that as the Summer holidays start to accelerate so the seasons are already showing signs of movement towards Autumn. Hopefully we have a few good weeks left and as I set out the sights and sounds of 60 screaming swifts with their young certainly felt very summery but as my walk progressed the delicate aroma of muck spreading on freshly cut corn fields showed that the first of the harvest is already underway. The freshly cut stubble was a good feeding ground for stock doves not often seen so close to the village and they were joined by carrion crows and smaller jackdaws.
A walk down to the Great Melton Reservoir produced a flushed moorhen and a small flock of chattering swallows. I was also able to sit and watch a roe deer stag with the benefit of muck spreading to cover any sound or odour of mine that might have given me away. When he finally saw me he sprang off out of sight only to roar a testosterone filled bark suggesting that he had regained his composure.
Roe deer stag with his antlers suggesting some experience in battle
as well as the birds and mammals there were a few dragonflies on the wing and this is a good time to head out and watch these amazing aerial predators. Earlier in the day I had been out to nearby Marlingford where the meadows and mere were alive with them. I managed to get a quick photo of one beauty hanging on a low tree like a ornate piece of jewelry.
My best educated guess thanks to the british dragonflies ID page is a southern hawker but I am happy to be corrected by by more educated readers.
Marlingford was also busy with over 100 black-headed gulls taking an afternoon bath and joined by a few non breeding lesser black-backed gulls and a couple of common gulls. One of this years Grey heron youngsters was happy to cause a commotion chasing gulls and being put in his place by a threatening old grey headed cormorant. The heron having thought better of risking confrontation with the reptilian cormorant went off to chase the lapwings which are also starting to build in numbers as their breeding season finishes. for the first time in a couple of months there were tufted ducks which again will build from now until the autumn in numbers as the seasons gently roll into each other.
Male tufted duck post bath