Having moaned about the end of summer, there was some pleasant compensation for the changing seasons this afternoon as I drove into town past a large gathering of curlews feeding on the yellow stubbly remains of a silage field. The rain drummed and the wind blew them over, but this was their first appearance in this part of the glen since March. Last year, they stayed throughout the winter, dropping down onto the shore only when the hard weather pushed them. I listened to them whining from the car window as the wipers groaned over the windscreen and huge shoals of swallows followed on behind the silage cutters on the other side of the hill, hunting out the flies churned up by the whirring blades.
I hear that the first few pink footed geese have arrived in North Norfolk, and golden plover are beginning to gather on the marshes there. In Galloway, the larch trees have started to turn, and the mallard are well grown enough to fill the pot when their season opens in a few days.